Having read the Press article regarding the severance payment to Ms Weastell (Council boss to get £400K settlement, February 22) I contacted one of my local ward councillors for an official view on the reasons for such a large amount of ratepayers money being given away in such circumstances.

To say I was surprised at his reply is an understatement. He told me that the first thing he and his fellow councillors knew of this agreed payment was when they read the Press report, as the meeting where the decision was made was held behind closed doors.

I have enquired as to who actually was involved in the meeting and who actually controls the purse strings but have not as yet had a reply. The council must be held responsible for this debacle and instead of the clandestine meetings behind closed doors they should publicly apologise to the citizens and openly explain who are making these financial decisions.

G C Hill,

Anne Street, York

Council boss’s payout will come from reserve fund

I have never met Mary Weastell and know no details of her long sick leave but I feel sure that this is not how she expected to end her career (Council boss to get £400K settlement, February 22). Readers are outraged at the £400k settlement but that figure has not been plucked from the air. It will have been calculated in accordance with her employment contract using her salary and the years remaining before normal retirement.

It is 12 years since I was the councillor directly involved with finance but at that time City of York Council kept a reserve fund of perhaps £8 million. This is a legal requirement for councils so that they have money for one off items like this without skimping on potholes, Mr Boulton (How can £400K payout possibly be justified?, Letters, February 25).

The settlement has made big headlines with the result that the expected ‘shock-horror’ letters have rolled in. But as long as the decisions have been taken in accord with relevant regulations and guidelines, then we should all let the matter rest.

Quentin Macdonald,

Church Lane,

Nether Poppleton, York