Mid and East Antrim Borough Council (MEABC) has confirmed today, Tuesday 24th January, that former Chief Executive Anne Donaghy is no longer employed with the local authority.
MEABC remained tight-lipped over the weekend as reports emerged of the
departure of Ms Donaghy on health grounds.
The former council chief who has been absent from her post since September 2021, has also remained silent.
The issue of her long-term absence was recently discussed behind closed doors on January 10 by the newly-formed Personnel Committee.
Commenting on this afternoon, a spokesperson for MEABC stated:
"The Council does not publicly comment on personnel matters, however, can confirm that Ms Donaghy is no longer employed by Mid and East Antrim Council.
"We can also confirm that contrary to media reports the Council has not approved a financial exit package for Ms Donaghy.
"In light of ongoing legal proceedings the Council will not be making any further comment."
Ms Donaghy initially was reported to have took sick leave in September 2021 amid increasing controversy regarding council's role in removing workers involved in administering the Irish Sea border at Larne Port, when DUP MLA Edwin Poots was DAERA MInister.
At that time council was also embroiled in controversy around the inner-workings of the organisation, and allegations of harassment, bullying and the existence of a 'toxic culture' at the the heart of the authority.
The ongoing scandal led to what became known as 'the raid on The Braid' when PSNI Detectives tasked with investigating suspected misconduct in public office and offences under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 visited the council headquarters at Bridge Street, Ballymena, on 19th October 2021.
With pressure continuing to build, Ms Donaghy was suspended from the borough council in December 2021.
Following her suspension, Ms Donaghy instructed her solicitor to launch legal proceedings against MEABC on disability grounds. She further claimed discrimination on grounds of her sex, religious and political beliefs.
The officers from the Criminal Investigation Branch made a second visit to council HQ on 5 April 2022.
Ms Donaghy has been chief executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council since an amalgamation of local authorities in 2015 and previously, she was chief executive of the legacy Ballymena Borough Council, and was absent from her post for around 15 months while on full pay, was understood to be on a salary of £117,000.
She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours list for services to local government and the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Current Interim chief executive Valerie Watts was appointed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in June.
The temporary chief executive’s salary was listed at between £107,255 and £116,221 per annum.