Public sector pay gap

Government exhortations to Councils to reduce CEO salaries – if only to set an example – is clearly falling on deaf ears.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the new Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald was paid £2,000 a day for 39 days work between February and the end of the financial year in March.

Fitzgerald was appointed CEO last November on an advertised salary of £197,000. This was said to be £35,000 less than his predecessor and without the performance-related bonuses previously paid.

The City Council has been unable to explain why he has been paid the annual equivalent of £400,000 for those two months.

His predecessor Colin Hilton did quite nicely too. He received £113,000 for two months work last year plus £30,000 compensation for loss of office – despite the fact he decided to retire – and a bonus of £26,000. He was appointed in July 2006 and in 2008 Liverpool was given a 1 star rating and condemned as the worst council in the country because of the poor state of its finances.

To put this in perspective the median pay for local government CEOs is around £150,00 and rose 34% between 2003/4 and 2007/8 according to the Audit Commission, more than jobs in the NHS and the social care sector. By comparison private sector CEOs average £400,000 plus bonuses bringing them up to around £590,000 and their pay rose 78% over the same time period.

See also: “Public sector fat cats”

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