A LOBBY group has described the situation surrounding the departure of Somerset County Council’s former chief executive Sheila Wheeler as a ‘complete joke’.

As the News reported last week, the authority racked up a bill of £55,000 in legal costs for Ms Wheeler’s departure.

On top of that, she was given a £40,000 pay-off, a quarter of her £160,000-a-year salary, and the council also spent £109,000 ‘defending itself against a complaint against several individuals within the council,’ unrelated to the departure of Ms Wheeler.

Dia Chakravarty, political director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This seems to have turned into a complete joke but taxpayers won’t be laughing as they foot the bill.

“Taxpayers will be outraged that the council keeps wasting more and more of their hard-earned cash on this.

“The council continues to show no regard for transparency in its handling of this matter, and must be open with the hard-pressed families who are paying for this debacle.”