Once upon a time having a job in the public sector meant that you weren’t paid brilliantly but you had job security and a good pension.
That is no longer the case for senior managers (although they still aren’t paid as much as the mouth-watering sums given to CEOs in the private sector).
Nevertheless a Sunday Times investigation this weekend shows many councils have significantly increased the pay and packages for their Chief Executives at a time when they are cutting services.
Only five of the twenty top payers have reduced pay after demands for austerity by the government in 2010.
The 10 biggest pay packets in 2013/14 (2010/11 in brackets)
- Somerset £318,500 (£128,894)
- Wandsworth £215,696 (£174,271)
- Birmingham £211,804 (£198,925)
- Surrey £211, 600 (£210,000)
- Buckinghamshire £209,070 (£207,750)
- Manchester £209,934 (£203,934)
- Durham £200,000 (£200,000)
- Sunderland £196,627 (£193,148)
- Liverpool £199,500 (£153,176)
- Stoke-on-Trent £195,516 (£191,032)
Somerset is particularly troubling as the previous Chief Executive, Sheila Wheeler was paid a £198,000 package (£160,000 basic) and left for undisclosed reasons after being criticised for her inactivity during last year’s West Country Floods.
The salary of over £300,000 shown in the table above was for the Director of Children’s Services (Peter Lewis) who was recruited temporarily through an agency and was one of three temporary appointments which in total cost the Council almost £750,000. The Council is trying to save £18 million.
NB Lewis has since lost his job with the Council having failed to deliver the improvements it needed.
The highest paid apart from that was £160,000 (£129,000)
Wandsworth, second on the list, has 11 officers paid more than the Prime Minister (David Cameron is paid £142,000 by the way) and the Chief Executive got a £15,000 bonus and a pay rise last year taking him to £282,210.
Stoke-on-Trent justified the pay increase for their top officer by saying the city needed someone “with the ability to effectively manage the delivery of complex services, and to drive jobs and growth for residents”.
This is a mantra we have heard before and you’ve heard me comment before on the topic of public sector fat cats.
Update December 2014
The Chief Executive of struggling Pembrokeshire council left recently with a pocketful of cash (well more than a pocketful – £280k) rather than a pension contribution.
He was paid £195k a year plus benefits and had a £90k Porsche Panamera leased for him.
During his time there he oversaw 1,000 members of staff having pay cuts of up to £5,000. Obviously not leading by example!