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Mixed news on CEO pay

An interesting table from the Daily Telegraph on the pay levels of Councils Chief Executives. They have details of 128 councils. Their report stresses how most have had a pay rise and thus snubbed calls from the Government to show restraint. Specifically the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles called on those Council CEOs earning more than the Prime Minister (which is most of them) to take a 10% pay cut.

I think the news is more mixed. Some of those who receive rises actually turn out to have had redundancy or one off payments. In some cases where they was apparently a pay  rise it transpire that they joined during the previous year. So 12 months pay is being compared with the pay for eight months, or six months in the previous year.

Also there have been many councils where the pay cut has been substantial - I suspect usually because the Chief Executive has retired and the successor has been on a lower salary.

But the main point is that the figures are for last year, 2010/11. It is this financial year that the cuts are biting and thus when the pressure for an example to be set would be more likely to take effect.

By the way for my own Council of Hammersmith and Fulham our Chief Executive Geoff Alltimes is very near the top on £281,667. However a third of his salary was picked up by the PCT as they shared him as Chief Exec. Also from October we will be sharing our Chief Executive with Kensington and Chelsea and saving our Council Taxpayers £120,000 a year.

Alltimes salary includes pension contribution and the past mismanagement of our pension fund meant a contractual requirement to increase the payment.Why should he be paid extra, along with other Council Chief Execs, when there is an election taking place to act as Returning Officer? Why indeed. It is a requirement from the Electoral Commission that should be scrapped.

There are several good councils which do pay their Chief Execs above average. This may provide value for money. Residents will judge on outputs - the quality of the services, the level of Council Tax. Not on the inputs. For years Wandsworth would combine having the lowest Council Tax in the country with one of the highest paid Council Chief Execs, Gerald Jones. Fair enough.

On the other hand in a council is slashing services and pleading poverty then its residents are likely to be rather less indulgent about the remuneration of senior managers.


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