High earn­ers put KCC top of rich list

Coun­cil pays 21 man­agers more than £100,000

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Lorries Slowly Destroying Grade Ii Listed Home - By Paul Fran­cis

Kent County Coun­cil has de­fended the num­ber of peo­ple it em­ploys earn­ing more than £100,000, say­ing it needs the best peo­ple to man­age im­por­tant ser­vices.

The coun­cil has 21 se­nior man­agers earn­ing more than £100,000 ac­cord­ing to The Town Hall Rich List, an an­nual sur­vey of coun­cils’ top earn­ers con­ducted by the cam­paign group Tax­pay­ers’ Al­liance.

That was the high­est fig­ure for any coun­cil in the South East.

Ash­ford and Shep­way coun­cils each have three mem­bers of staff earn­ing above £100,000.

Cllr John Sim­monds (Con), KCC’s cabi­net fi­nance mem­ber, said: “We are the largest county coun­cil, so in a sense it is no sur­prise that we are top of the list.

“For ex­am­ple, we have 34,000 adults need­ing so­cial care and that car­ries a big re­spon­si­bil­ity. I think what we have got is pretty rea­son­able. We have re­cently taken out the com­mu­nity ser­vices di­rec­torate, sav­ing us money.”

He said the coun­cil’s move to out­source a swathe of ser­vices to save

‘It’s par­tic­u­larly galling in places where coun­cils are plead­ing poverty’

money would not nec­es­sar­ily mean it could fur­ther re­duce the num­bers on six-fig­ures salaries.

“I do not ex­pect any sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion. If we do go down this route, the skills will be in man­ag­ing con­tracts and mak­ing sure they are de­liv­ered.”

He pointed out that Es­sex County Coun­cil [which comes un­der East of Eng­land in the sur­vey], is smaller than Kent and had 30 se­nior of­fi­cers earn­ing more than £100,000.

KCC’s big­gest earner in 2012-13 was David Cock­burn, cor­po­rate direc­tor for busi­ness strat­egy, who earned £187,719.

Ed­u­ca­tion direc­tor Pa­trick Lee­son earned £159,075 while Amanda Honey, who was com­mu­ni­ties direc­tor but has re­cently left the au­thor­ity in a re­or­gan­i­sa­tion, re­ceived £159,075.

The Tax­pay­ers Al­liance said it was good news the num­ber of peo­ple earn­ing more than £100,000 was fall­ing but too many coun­cils were in­creas­ing the num­ber of ex­ec­u­tives.

“Sadly, too many lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are still in­creas­ing the num­ber of highly paid staff on their pay­roll. It’s par­tic­u­larly galling in places where coun­cils are plead­ing poverty and de­mand­ing more and more in coun­cil tax,” said Jonathan Is­aby, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the cam­paign group.

The KM Group re­cently re­vealed that KCC had spent £6.5m in re­dun­dancy costs and exit pack­ages over two years.

Med­way Coun­cil, a uni­tary au­thor­ity, em­ployed 13 se­nior of­fi­cers earn­ing more than £100,000 over the same pe­riod. How­ever, in most dis­tricts and bor­oughs, the num­ber was in sin­gle fig­ures.

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