Outcry as top council officers are awarded 20pc pay rise
FOUR bosses at Cheshire East Council are to receive pay rises of up to 20 per cent.
The massive pay hikes include the chief operating officer’s (COO) salary, which will jump from £110k to £135k per year.
Others include the executive director for economic growth and prosperity, from £110k to £120k, the head of legal services and monitoring officer, from £75k to £90k, and the director of adult services from £95k to £110k.
The move follows a restructure which axed the £125,000 role of executive director for strategic commissioning.
All other council staff received an annual pay rise of one per cent this year.
The new salaries were passed at a council meeting last Thursday.
Council leader Michael Jones said: “We have got some of the finest officers in the country and we should reward them. We are not paying higher sala- ries than any authority, we’re just giving them what they are worth and not above it. This is the right thing to do.”
But the proposals came under fire from Councillor Amanda Stott, an independent councillor representing Bollington.
She said: “For Michael Jones to say that pay rises in the region of 20 per cent for a small number of officers was justified because ‘they work hard’ is shocking.
“There are many who work hard at Cheshire East Council and in most cases have received a meagre one per cent pay rise.
“Just because a senior officer left should not mean that their salary is shared out amongst a few – it could have been shared out over a wider group – or saved.
“I did not support these pay increases as I felt that the people who elected me would not approve of any government employee receiving 20 per cent extra in their pay packet, whilst services to residents are being reduced.”
In a report to the council chief executive, Mike Suarez said the pay rises were justified because officers had taken on extra responsibility from the axed director role.
But Coun Sam Corcoran disagreed.
He said: “Some of the pay increases are more than many people earn in total a year.”
In 2013 the council overhauled its management structure to save £5m. The move was in the wake of the Lyme Green scandal, which was blamed partly on its ‘organisational structure’.
●● Council leader Michael Jones defended the move