Nathan Elvery, for eight years one of Croydon’s most senior council officials, has been sacked from his latest job at West Sussex County Council, where he was chief executive.
In 2014, Elvery had been promoted to the role of CEO at Croydon Council by Tony Newman, the Labour leader of the council.
Elvery had been a key player in the Tory administration in Croydon under Mike Fisher, overseeing wide-ranging job cuts – “Efficiency is in our DNA”, Elvery said – and as the council finance director and then deputy CEO he was an influential figure in the decision to demolish Taberner House, the council’s headquarters, and to spend £140million on a glass palace – Fisher’s Folly – to replace it.
But despite being handed the top job by Newman, Elvery left Croydon in 2016 to take up a similar post, and £190,000 annual salary, in Chichester.
That move saw Elvery provoke controversy from the very start of his new role, because his appointment came with a £47,500 “golden hello” – an amount equivalent to one-quarter of his annual pay, dressed up as relocation expenses to make it tax-free. Problem was, Elvery never did relocate from his family home in Epsom, causing his new employers at West Sussex some embarrassing accounting issues with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
That, though, is not thought to be the ultimate cause of Elvery’s downfall, which was confirmed yesterday in a terse statement from WSCC’s headquarters in Chichester.
Elvery had been on “gardening leave” since September.
It seems that he may have thought he might have an opportunity to return to his desk. As recently as last week, he was using his personal social media account to Tweet supportive messages and congratulations to staff working for West Sussex.
Whatever Elvery might have hoped, yesterday his fate was confirmed.
A WSCC spokesperson said, “The chief executive Nathan Elvery has now left West Sussex County Council by mutual consent… We are not able to say anything further as it is confidential.”
The latter part of the statement suggests that some kind of settlement has been reached, possibly worth up to £100,000 for Elvery in an attempt to avoid any subsequent action.
Elvery was removed from his daily duties soon after an independent inspector’s report was published which said that he presided over a local authority with a “bullying culture” and high turnover of staff, including “damaged” individuals.
Three other senior members of WSCC staff left around the time that Elvery was suspended, including two who had worked with the local authority exec when he was running Croydon Council: human resources director Heather Daley and programme director Ravi Dhindsa.
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