Council bosses earn more than Tony Blair
Kent chief named as top council earner
TWO of Kent County Council’s directors are among the highest-paid council bosses in the country, earning more than Tony Blair.
Chief executive Peter Gilroy earned nearly £230,000 last year, making him the highest-paid council chief in England.
Mr Gilroy, who has been chief executive since 2005, earned more than £43,000 more than the Prime Minister for managing the largest county council in the country.
Meanwhile, education director Graham Badman, the man in charge of Kent’s 600-plus schools, was paid just under £190,000.
The salaries of three other senior officers also topped £100,000 in 2005-2006.
Strategic planning director Peter Raine and social services director Oliver Mills both earned £139,999, while county secretary Geoff Wild earned £119,000.
The figures were released to pressure group the Taxpayers’ Alliance under the Freedom of Information Act.
Conservative county council leader Cllr Paul Carter mounted a strong defence of the amounts paid to Mr Gilroy and Mr Badman.
“Kent County Council is a massive organisation and the responsibilities of these jobs are enormous,” he said.
“Kent needs to attract the very best people to run services, and if you want the best, you have to pay the best.”
Cllr Carter said Mr Gilroy had proved his worth when Kent was named the second-best-performing county council in the country last month.
“The Audit Commission gave us the highest four-star rating for the way we run our services,” Cllr Carter added.
“A lot of that is down to the leadership of Peter and the chief officers.”
And he emphasised that KCC was the largest education authority in the country and was in the middle of a massive school refurbishment programme.
“We compare favourably if you look at the salaries paid by organisations like the BBC, Transport for London and the Royal Mail,” Cllr Carter added.
“We are competing with other areas of the public sector.”
But the disclosure was not wellreceived by unions representing county council staff, 190 of whom may lose their jobs as the council makes budget cuts.
KCC Unison branch secretary David Lloyd said: “It is demoralising for staff. Some of our members are aghast.
“At a time when jobs and services are under threat and we are in a difficult position over pensions, it is not hard to see why.”
Taxpayers’ Alliance chairman Andrew Allum added: “Thousands of pensioners are having to choose between heating their homes and paying their council tax bills.
“It is an insult to their dignity that so much money goes down the drain on top salaries for council staff.”
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KCC chief executive Peter Gilroy, who earned £230,000 last year