Council chiefs cash in with pay deals

PUBLISHED: 16:03 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 06 May 2010

TOP Herts County Council officers were given pay rises well above the rate of inflation last year - for the second year in succession. Nine of the county council s most senior officers saw their salary package rise by between 5.7 per cent and 7.7 per cent

TOP Herts County Council officers were given pay rises well above the rate of inflation last year - for the second year in succession.

Nine of the county council's most senior officers saw their salary package rise by between 5.7 per cent and 7.7 per cent between 2006 and 2007 - at the same time as hard-pressed council tax payers were expected to find an additional five per cent on the county share of their council tax.

Council employees meanwhile are expected to live within the two per cent Government target for growth in pay.

Chief executive Caroline Tapster, who earned just under £201,500 last year, is the sixth-highest-paid council officer in the country - one of 14 local authority employees to earn more than Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The figures are contained in the annual Town Hall Rich List compiled by The Taxpayers' Alliance as part of their Council Spending Uncovered research.

They came in response to requests which had to be made to each authority through the Freedom of Information Act. A number of councils refused to give the information.

Ms Tapster received a six per cent increase in her remuneration package between 2006 and 2007; the highest percentage increase of 7.7 per cent went to John Harris, the director of children, schools and families, bringing his earnings to just under £156,000. He has two deputy directors who each earned more than £100,000.

The previous year Mr Harris had seen his salary package rise by 9.76 per cent. His department is responsible for the allocation of school places.

Director of environment John Wood, who is responsible for the county's roads, was given a 7.6 per cent increase in 2006/7 which saw his remuneration go up from £140,000 to nearly £151,000. He had an increase of 7.32 per cent in 2005/6.

Chief fire officer Roy Wilshire earned just under £118,000, and one head teacher in the county earned just over £100,000.

A spokesperson for the county council said that the salaries paid for the positions named reflected the responsibilities within the posts and were in line with other organisations of a similar size.

He added: "We are constantly checking the market and have to ensure that our salaries are in line in order to attract and retain the best possible people."

No staff at St Albans District Council earned above £100,000 according to their response to the Freedom of Information Act request. But Hertsmere Borough Council's chief executive Eden Lee was paid £121,597 last year, a rise of 6.9 per cent.

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