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Kent Council Managing Director Katherine Kerswell Gets £500,000 Redundancy Payout For 16 Months' Work

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A former council managing director has received a pay-off of more than £500,000 after she was made redundant less than half way through her four-year contract.

Katherine Kerswell was paid £420,000 redundancy, her £139,806 salary and a pension of £29,359 when she left her post at Kent County Council in December last year, according to the authority's statement of accounts for 2011-12.

Ms Kerswell, who took the job in Kent in March 2010 after leaving Northamptonshire County Council, was one of 1,500 staff who were made redundant as part of council spending cuts and restructuring, the report said.

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The payout was for 16 months work, less than half of Kerswell's contract

Council leader Paul Carter told BBC Kent: "We've taken £1m out of the cost of running the senior directors' cadre and £45m of staff savings across the piece.

"I can't talk specifically as we're bound to a confidentiality agreement, but this job was one of the top jobs in local government.

"So if somebody had left a job to come to a new job then 16 months in you've restructured and decided a post is no longer needed, there has to be a severance payment that pays for that loss."

John O'Connell, research director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This huge pay-off will infuriate the taxpayers who have to pick up the bill, particularly because of the short amount of time that the managing director was in post.

"What's equally frustrating is that the council initially refused to provide this information. Local authorities must become more transparent to the ordinary families whose council tax has almost doubled over the last decade.

"In the future, it's crucial that taxpayers are not held to ransom because of poorly-drawn-up contracts, and the senior public sector merry-go-round must grind to an immediate halt."

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