THE interim chief executive of Slough Borough Council (SBC), Roger Parkin, has walked away from the job early as the ongoing spat at the top of the authority continues.

In an extraordinary full council meeting on Tuesday, the leader of SBC, Cllr James Swindlehurst, confirmed that Mr Parkin had already left the council, despite earlier reassurances from Cllr Swindlehurst himself that Mr Parkin would remain until a new chief executive was found.

A council source has also confirmed that SBC agreed to pay Mr Parkin a £440,000 severance payment, although his £375,000 pension is included in that figure. In the meeting, Cllr Swindlehurst stressed that he was being paid only the statutory requirement for his job - the legal minimum.

Cllr Swindlehurst told the meeting that relations between Mr Parkin and the council had recently soured. He said: “There’s a whole host of reasons Roger couldn’t stay in post. We’ve had conversations in which it’s been clear relationships have broken down. The Local Government Authority (LGA) was also threatening an external review.”

It is understood that the final payment to Mr Parkin may be even larger, as sources claimed SBC had not calculated the money owed to him for his leave entitlement.

Mr Parkin had been the council’s favourite to become the permanent chief executive. But following allegations of poor conduct put forward by deputy leader Cllr Sabia Hussain, at a meeting, and independent investigator Richard Penn, in a private report, the council voted against offering Mr Parkin the job. Mr Parkin has never responded to any of the allegations made against him.

His departure prompted an angry reaction from some councillors. Speaking to the Observer, Cllr Anna Wright (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill) said: “The council made a decision based on allegations without any evidence.” In the meeting, Cllr Wright accused councillors of ‘fights and tantrums, that had brought this council into disrepute’.

In Part Two of the meeting, held in private, the full council agreed Mr Parkin’s severance payment.

Speaking to the Observer after the meeting, Cllr Swindlehurst added: “Parkin’s last day was December 15. Currently, the directors are working in rotation as chief executive, until we appoint a new interim chief executive in the New Year.”

The recruitment process for the permanent chief executive position is expected to follow shortly after.