THE drainage board recently criticised in a damning audit report is to explore whether or not it can recover money overpaid to its former chief executive.

A meeting of the Caldicot and Wentlooge Levels Internal Drainage Board heard that Dean Jackson-Johns was overpaid by around £100,000.

The Welsh Audit Office report found that Mr Jackson-Johns, who was also known as the chief clerk and engineer, was paid more than the terms agreed in his contract.

At the first board meeting held since the report was published members agreed with recommendations set out by the Welsh Audit Office – which include commissioning an independent review into its improvement programme.

But the WAO also recommended the board should consider whether or not to seek recovery of salary overpayments to Mr Jackson-Johns.

Richard Penn, current general manager, said he didn’t know the process for recovering overpayments of salary.

He told the board that one human resources adviser said it was very difficult to see if there was much prospect of successful recovery of the overpayment as it was not fraud. He said his pay was based on decisions by board bodies.

Mr Penn said he didn’t pretend to know how the legal process would work.

Councillor Bob Derbyshire, from Cardiff, said there was a public interest in recovering the money, but that he had a difficulty with the limited information available on whether or not the money could be recovered.

Councillor Phil Murphy, from Monmouthshire, said the body could spend £100,000 on recovery, “and that’s all we are trying to recover”.

The board agreed with a recommendation from Mr Penn that legal advisers were provided with documentation so they can advise the board on the prospects of recovery.