Sheila Wheeler: Somerset County Council legal fees top £55,000

Somerset County Gazette: Sheila Wheeler, former chief executive of Somerset County Council. Sheila Wheeler, former chief executive of Somerset County Council.

SOMERSET County Council racked up a bill of £55,000 in legal costs relating to the departure of its former chief executive Sheila Wheeler.

The authority also spent £109,000 "defending itself against a complaint against several individuals within the council," unrelated to the departure of Ms Wheeler.

Ms Wheeler left her post in February by "mutual agreement" and was given a £40,000 pay-off, a quarter of her £160,00-a-year salary.

The £55,000 legal fees include costs for drawing up the legal agreement signed by both sides, the council announced last night (March 31).

A statement read: "The council said that it would confirm the costs when this was possible and the information is being published on its website and released to the media.

"In any dispute with a chief executive officer, a council has to follow nationally agreed statutory guidelines and appoint an independent barrister. Somerset County Council complied with this statutory process.

"The cost for this process has now been published and totals £55,000. These are the only legal costs directly relating to the departure of the then chief executive in February and include costs for drawing up the legal agreement signed by both sides.

"Sheila Wheeler left the authority with a three month notice period paid up – a total of £40,000. There were no pension contributions on top of this sum."

The authority added that it could not comment further on the £109,000 bill "for legal reasons."

When Ms Wheeler’s absence began in November, the council initially said she was “on sick leave”, then in January a statement said simply she was “not in the office at this time”, a position the authority did not flinch from until her official departure.

She had been on full-paid absence since about mid-December.

At a meeting to discuss her £40,000 pay-off, more than a third of councillors walked out because “they did not want to be part of the process."

Comments (7)

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9:05am Tue 1 Apr 14

david1966 says...

So basically 55K for a gaging / keep quiet order - lovely one SCC and you tory s**ts make sure look after yourselves and to hell with the electorate.

Just remember who puts you in this privileged position and it can be easily taken from you as it was given.

Socialist party will be along in a sec.
So basically 55K for a gaging / keep quiet order - lovely one SCC and you tory s**ts make sure look after yourselves and to hell with the electorate. Just remember who puts you in this privileged position and it can be easily taken from you as it was given. Socialist party will be along in a sec. david1966
  • Score: 7

9:12am Tue 1 Apr 14

GreatOdin'sRaven says...

All I wonder is whether she intentionally married someone with the surname 'Wheeler' so as to have a rhyming name.
All I wonder is whether she intentionally married someone with the surname 'Wheeler' so as to have a rhyming name. GreatOdin'sRaven
  • Score: 13

10:35am Tue 1 Apr 14

SamF92 says...

GreatOdin'sRaven wrote:
All I wonder is whether she intentionally married someone with the surname 'Wheeler' so as to have a rhyming name.
The people have a right to know.
[quote][p][bold]GreatOdin'sRaven[/bold] wrote: All I wonder is whether she intentionally married someone with the surname 'Wheeler' so as to have a rhyming name.[/p][/quote]The people have a right to know. SamF92
  • Score: 8

12:17pm Tue 1 Apr 14

Slow down! says...

I hope this is an Aprils fool?
I hope this is an Aprils fool? Slow down!
  • Score: 4

3:41pm Tue 1 Apr 14

david1966 says...

Slow down! wrote:
I hope this is an Aprils fool?
I think we all wish it is but this is the SCC, they wouldn't know how to.
[quote][p][bold]Slow down![/bold] wrote: I hope this is an Aprils fool?[/p][/quote]I think we all wish it is but this is the SCC, they wouldn't know how to. david1966
  • Score: 1

1:02pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Mi_Coc says...

She was never on sick leave so that is a lie, I think an enquiry is required. She made complaints against people and has been gagged and paid to leave.

Since the sorry saga has cost the tax payer in excess 150k and the smoke and mirrors are still in place clearly we need to know the truth.
She was never on sick leave so that is a lie, I think an enquiry is required. She made complaints against people and has been gagged and paid to leave. Since the sorry saga has cost the tax payer in excess 150k and the smoke and mirrors are still in place clearly we need to know the truth. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 2

1:04pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Mi_Coc says...

david1966 wrote:
So basically 55K for a gaging / keep quiet order - lovely one SCC and you tory s**ts make sure look after yourselves and to hell with the electorate.

Just remember who puts you in this privileged position and it can be easily taken from you as it was given.

Socialist party will be along in a sec.
Don't say that socialism has worked so well for others look at the Chinese. you can never have equal distribution of wealth its a fairy tale.
[quote][p][bold]david1966[/bold] wrote: So basically 55K for a gaging / keep quiet order - lovely one SCC and you tory s**ts make sure look after yourselves and to hell with the electorate. Just remember who puts you in this privileged position and it can be easily taken from you as it was given. Socialist party will be along in a sec.[/p][/quote]Don't say that socialism has worked so well for others look at the Chinese. you can never have equal distribution of wealth its a fairy tale. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 1

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