New revelations in row over fire chief's op

Chief fire officer Mark Yates

Chief fire officer Mark Yates

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A DECISION to pay the county's chief fire officer £3,000 towards private back surgery was made after the operation had taken place, service bosses have now confirmed.

It means if the four members of the fire authority , who met behind-closed-doors to award Mark Yates the money back in October, had rejected the claim it would have cost taxpayers nothing.

The fire service yesterday said Mr Yates had made his request before his surgery, and still insist it saved £8,500 because if he waited 12 weeks on the NHS, other staff would have been paid extra cash to cover his duties.

The service also says if he was off work for 12 weeks, the sick pay bill would have totalled £28,000.

Critics of the decision, which was first revealed in your Worcester News on Monday, now say after the fresh revelations they will be demanding answers.

Councillor Alan Amos, who sits on the fire authority, said: "I can't quite believe the stuff that's coming out.

"The whole principle of saying 'let's get it done privately, it will be quicker' applies to anybody and everybody.

"He'd already had the operation so the whole argument that this has saved money is nonsense.

"The fact is, taxpayers have paid for the chief fire officer to have an operation to be done privately, are we saying this is proper?

"The people who made the decision are playing with public money, it's outrageous."

Cllr Amos was planning to raise the saga at a meeting of the fire authority's policy and resources committee today.

The fire service also confirmed yesterday that Councillor David Taylor, who has denied any involvement in the pay-out, was one of the four people involved in the decision.

Cllr Taylor did not return calls again from your Worcester News yesterday, after claiming last Friday he was not there.

Cllr Derek Prodger, fire authority chairman, who signed the cash payment off with support from two fellow panel members, says he could have made the decision purely on his own under official delegated powers.

A new statement in his name said he instead decided a private meeting of political party group leaders was the "appropriate forum" to get it agreed.

It said: "Decisions of this nature would ordinarily be made by officers under delegated authority but as the request concerned the chief fire officer it was referred to me.

"As chairman of the authority, I determined the group leaders’ meeting was the appropriate forum in which to consider the matter."

A later response confirmed the decision to hand over £3,000 was made "after the operation had been carried out", adding "the request had been made beforehand".

Mr Yates' operation cost £5,090, and during the private meeting Cllr Prodger argued the chief should get a contribution from the public purse.

* More news on Mr Yates' handout will be in your Worcester News tomorrow.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:39pm Wed 26 Mar 14

skychip says...

You just can't believe what goes on and no-one will have to answer for it.
You just can't believe what goes on and no-one will have to answer for it. skychip
  • Score: 8

11:14pm Wed 26 Mar 14

brooksider says...

skychip wrote:
You just can't believe what goes on and no-one will have to answer for it.
Surely Prodger told Yates there was no guarantee the Fire Authority would contribute to the cost of the treatment.
A competent Chairman would, wouldn't he?
[quote][p][bold]skychip[/bold] wrote: You just can't believe what goes on and no-one will have to answer for it.[/p][/quote]Surely Prodger told Yates there was no guarantee the Fire Authority would contribute to the cost of the treatment. A competent Chairman would, wouldn't he? brooksider
  • Score: 4

11:35pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Battenhall says...

One could perhaps expect that Yates on his salary could have easily afforded to buy his own private health care policy seeing that a quick return to work was so important to him....
Hope he pays tax and NI on the benefit paid to him.
One could perhaps expect that Yates on his salary could have easily afforded to buy his own private health care policy seeing that a quick return to work was so important to him.... Hope he pays tax and NI on the benefit paid to him. Battenhall
  • Score: 4

11:46pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Jabbadad says...

There is a business case to get / keep this senior officer at work as quickly as possible. And of course without private hospital treatments the NHS would be overwhelmed.
The question has arisen of how badly this was handled while agreeing on the Salary mentioned the Counties Cheif Fire Officer could well afford the £3,000 towards his health treatment and I would also guese that his private health insurance which the public would contribute towards would cover this.
There is a business case to get / keep this senior officer at work as quickly as possible. And of course without private hospital treatments the NHS would be overwhelmed. The question has arisen of how badly this was handled while agreeing on the Salary mentioned the Counties Cheif Fire Officer could well afford the £3,000 towards his health treatment and I would also guese that his private health insurance which the public would contribute towards would cover this. Jabbadad
  • Score: 1

7:31am Thu 27 Mar 14

denon says...

Whats this about Councillor Taylor one of the Independent Councillors didn't even know he was at the meeting. At least Prodger knew he was there
Whats this about Councillor Taylor one of the Independent Councillors didn't even know he was at the meeting. At least Prodger knew he was there denon
  • Score: 0

10:04am Thu 27 Mar 14

Doogie 46 says...

Apparently Mr Yates has a deputy, who presumably is paid a salery commensurate to his ability to deputise for him in the event of Mr Yates being absent at conferences, on leave OR off sick for whatever time necessary.
Therefore why would any extra cost be involved in paying anyone to fill the gap - the structure is in place to cover Mr Yates` absence.
So far I haven`t read anything that justifies him having this treatment paid for by the taxpayer - although possibly HMRC will be interested in the case!!!
Apparently Mr Yates has a deputy, who presumably is paid a salery commensurate to his ability to deputise for him in the event of Mr Yates being absent at conferences, on leave OR off sick for whatever time necessary. Therefore why would any extra cost be involved in paying anyone to fill the gap - the structure is in place to cover Mr Yates` absence. So far I haven`t read anything that justifies him having this treatment paid for by the taxpayer - although possibly HMRC will be interested in the case!!! Doogie 46
  • Score: 4

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree