THE CONTROVERSIAL former chief executive of the Council of the Isles of Scilly pocketed more than £200,000 after taking early retirement earlier this year, it has emerged.
Philip Hygate's £204,000 "golden goodbye" included a year's salary, removal costs and a generous sum added to his pension pot, according to the council's annual accounts.
Mr Hygate, who took the helm of the local authority in 1992, has long been a controversial figure in the island community of 2,200 residents.
In October last year he was suspended to allow an investigation into his conduct in relation to Bryce Wilby, head teacher of the Five Islands School, who was suspended last May then quit.
The council refused to publish details of Mr Hygate's settlement when his departure was announced, and it was not forthcoming despite Freedom of Information requests.
Now the authority's statement of accounts has finally revealed the full extent of Mr Hygate's "exit package".
The report, which stated the chief executive took early retirement on "grounds of efficiency", showed the deal included a £91,000 payment to his pension fund for the early release of pension payments, an £88,800 payment equivalent to a year's pay and £14,000 for removal costs.
The package was rounded off with a £10,000 handout for outplacement and retraining.
The settlement is on top of his £82,648 total remuneration for 2012-13, which included salary and pension contributions.
The payout risks angering residents on Scilly where the average wage is well below the national average at around £17,000 but house prices rival those in London, and islanders pay higher charges for food and supplies imported from the mainland.
Louise Graham, a member of the group Heart, which campaigns for openness on the Isles of Scilly, said the payoff was scandalous.
"The whole thing about Philip Hygate is outrageous.
"My attitude is that this is another opportunity for the council to just pay someone off.
"When I have asked questions about this, they have said that it's just the easiest option. In my view it is not an option they should be taking."
In a statement released by the local authority on his departure, Mr Hygate said: "It has been a privilege to be part of such a special place and to have contributed to securing its wellbeing and potential. I wish Scilly the best for the future."