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Cornwall Council consultant on £12,500 a month

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 16, 2012

Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council

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A CONSULTANT hired to lead Cornwall Council's green agenda was paid the second highest salary at County Hall despite having no managerial role.

The West Briton can reveal that Stephen Cirell was paid £12,500 a month for seven months before being taken on at £140,000 a year.

His salary was higher than that of Tom Flanagan, who was managing the department to which Mr Cirell was seconded.

Mr Cirell was originally seconded to the council from legal firm Eversheds, where he was a partner.

The council agreed to pay Eversheds £12,500 a month plus £60 a day for "living and travelling expenses".

After seven months, in April, 2010, he was employed on a fixed-term contract at £140,000 a year. Only council chief executive Kevin Lavery is paid more.

Mr Cirell also claimed £858.14 in business expenses while on his full-time contract and the council contributed 19.4 per cent of salary to his pension.

He left the council four months after being given a full-time contract.

Over a year from August 2009 he was paid £156,411 in total.

The details were revealed in the council's reply to a West Briton Freedom of Information request – which also showed there was no formal recruitment process, as it was "not viewed as an appropriate way to address the particular needs of the programme".

Green Cornwall was launched with the promise of innovative schemes such as an extensive electric car programme and renewable energy projects, most of which have now been abandoned or scrapped.

Councillor Alex Folkes, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said it was an example of a "broken promise" from the council's ruling Conservatives.

"The promise from the leader was that he would cut spending on consultants but it's actually gone up," he said.

"The council has made a great play about creating jobs in Cornwall, yet we're still employing consultants like this from upcountry."

Emma Boon, campaigns director at the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "This is a staggering deal for a consultant, and many taxpayers will be shocked and rightly question whether this was the best value for money."

In a statement Cornwall Council said: "The Green Cornwall programme, in terms of scope and ambition, was a national first, and its legacy is now bearing fruit with a number of large-scale and high-profile projects.

"Stephen created a corporate approach to green issues and raised the profile of the aims of Cornwall nationally and internationally.

"In influencing national policy, Stephen successfully lobbied for the council to have the right to reinvest locally the surplus made from selling the renewable energy it generated.

"Significant projects that are now in place due to the foundations that Stephen laid with the Green Cornwall programme include the carbon management plan, the solar scheme on council buildings that has saved the taxpayer £500,000 in energy bills and a high-profile lead role for Cornwall in the recently launched South West Marine Energy Park (a national first).

"Stephen's remuneration package, including the daily allowance, was negotiated with him as part of the terms and conditions of his employment.

"It is not typical of our standard agreements with consultants employed by Cornwall Council, but reflects his credentials at national level, as a leading specialist in climate change and experience as a special adviser to the Government on the green agenda."

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  • homerjay  |  February 21 2012, 7:33PM

    Another snout at the taxpayers trough, the whole herd of them are getting twice as much as they are worth. But then he will save us a few quid (which we will be taxed on through our energy bills) arranging for some PV panels fitted. D'oh! sheer genius, wish I'd thought of that.

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  • ackedoff  |  February 21 2012, 7:01PM

    josdave I can see your point, our duly eletcted councilors do nothing, the HR department is next to useless unless, they are arranging reduncies that wont drop them in it legally that is, and the Unions are impotent. However if we the taxpayers just sit and let it happen without a murmur then we are as bad as they are, surely one of them will have a soul and eventually do or say something....its the drip drip effect! If enough noise is made someone somewhere must take notice........musnt they??? :0) Im pretty sure that there will be a round of local elections due soon and some of those councilors need to do some pretty hard soul searching before they start presenting themselves on our door steps for re-election

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  • vockered  |  February 21 2012, 6:50PM

    Just goes to show again that Alex Robertson and Kevin Lavery cannot be trusted by anyone in Cornwall.

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  • Lady_bird  |  February 21 2012, 5:08PM

    Kevin Lavery and his band of merry men should be ashamed of themselves. All those jobs lost to redundancy, but then again how else where they going to pay for their grossley over paid consulatants - or was it written into their budget, if so then it doesn't count! It makes you wonder what else goes on in the Council that no one knows about.

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  • josdave  |  February 21 2012, 2:44PM

    The problem ackedoff is that we are getting used to nobody on the council taking a blind bit of notice of the comments. When you think how many of the redundancies would have been unnecessary were the council to spend their- sorry our- money wisely it is criminal what they are getting away with. The other problem is that it is a culture so that even if none of them are elected at the next elections things will carry on as before with all noses to the trough.

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  • ackedoff  |  February 21 2012, 7:49AM

    Amazing, a couple of months ago a story like this would have had 20+ angry comments instead of the 4. Is this a sign that we are so used to Lavery and Robertson chucking our money away so often we cant be bothered to comment? Come on Cornwall this is our money they are wasting! Jonny is right....this is a disgrace!

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  • albru  |  February 20 2012, 6:38AM

    Lucky we have al those savings from local government reorganisation that we were promised then!

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  • Vox_Populi  |  February 16 2012, 8:48PM

    What's his rank in the Freemasons?

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  • Jonny2010  |  February 16 2012, 8:47PM

    The whole "organisation" is a joke. There are so-called "managers" throughout Cornwall Council who NEVER applied for "their" jobs, NEVER given an assessment and NEVER attended an interview. There are even people who are allowed to write/amend job descriptions for jobs they want to apply for. You wouldn't think there were any HR staff, yet there are hordes of them. DISGRACE!!! The press need to be submitting more FOIs to expose the blatant corruption.

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  • josdave  |  February 16 2012, 11:26AM

    Well well well the council wasting our money. Nothing unusual there hardly a news item.

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