New attack on salaries of council leaders

A PUBLIC sector workers’ union has launched a fierce attack on the “obscene’’ salaries paid to council bosses in East Anglia.

Figures released by public services union the GMB yesterday showed that Joanna Killian, of Essex County Council, was the region’s highest-paid chief executive during 2009/10 earning �285,152.

But yesterday a spokesman for Essex County Council defended the salary, saying the authority paid a “fair price given the responsibilities, complexity and challenges of the role’’.

Next in the league table of the region’s highest paid council bosses was Andrea Hill at Suffolk County Council on �267,775, followed by David White, of Norfolk County Council, on �263,700.

Paul Hayes, GMB regional secretary, said council workers would be “sickened’’ to learn how much their bosses were earning and their levels of pay.

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“This is at a time when councils say they are hard up and are slashing jobs and services while telling staff to put up with a pay freeze.

“These same chief executives have had the gall to say their lowest paid workers will not get any pay rise this year.

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“I can’t believe that the council chief executives salaries have got so high with no obvious logic to explain this.

“You have to ask what our elected councillors are doing, voting through such obscene remuneration packages.’’

Mr Hayes added: “It’s no wonder that the top council jobs are being seen as the best of all gravy trains.

“There has to be restraint at the top, combined with fairness at the bottom, and there is no point having one without the other.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “As chief executive of two local authorities, with joint annual budgets of over �2.2billion, Joanna Killian has delivered �188m of savings over the last four financial years, including �59m in 2009/10.

“Over the next two years she will oversee and be responsible for the largest value-for-money programme of any council in the history of local government, saving some �300m by 2012/13, which equates to a third of the annual net Essex budget.

“Essex County Council pays a fair price given the responsibilities, complexity and challenges of this role, and needs quality people to bring about this massive change.”

Suffolk County Council have also previously defended Mrs Hill’s salary.

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