South Yorkshire’s Fire Authority boss quits post

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South Yorkshire’s Fire Authority chairman is resigning after controversy surrounding his decision to ‘secretly’ approve tens of thousands of pounds in overtime payments to senior fire officers.

Jim Andrews’ decision to leave his role emerged at a meeting of the authority when a formal call for him to go was made by Sheffield Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Ayris.

The meeting heard that Coun Andrews, the Labour deputy leader of Barnsley Council, had written to members of the fire authority to inform them he would stand down as chairman with his departure timed to coincide with May’s local elections. But despite the letter being referred to during the public meeting of the authority, it was not made publicly available.

It has previously been revealed that Coun Andrews approved more than £42,000 in overtime payments to chief fire officers for working during strikes between September 2013 and February 2015, without reporting the deal to the fire authority.

Coun Ayris said after the meeting: “I’m glad Jim Andrews has realised it’s time for him to go. He has stepped way out of line in authorising secret payments to senior officers.”