In a time of austerity, the way the Government spends their money is being monitored very closely by the public.
And now, many people in Essex are outraged that Essex County Council boss Joanna Killian took a £4,000 pay cut – then accepted a £6,900 bonus.
Accounts show council chief executive Ms Killian was paid a total of £289,173 in 2010/11 – £147,000 more than the Prime Minister. She earned this despite having agreed to take a 5 per cent pay cut.
Her pay was topped up with a £6,900 bonus, plus an extra £1,100 payment into her pension fund – at a time when the county council was cutting £98million from its budgets.
Mike Mackrory, who leads the Lib Dem opposition group on the Tory-controlled council, said he felt the council had been wrong to give her so much.
He said: “Given the circumstances and the cuts being made, I think it would have been right for Ms Killian to have accepted a total pay freeze. It is not right, in the current climate, when people are losing their jobs, to see bonuses such as this being paid.”
County Hall has already announced 450 council jobs will be cut, 12 youth centres will close and library hours will be slashed between now and next March to accommodate swinging budget cuts
However, despite cuts to jobs and services, the number of senior council officials earning more than £50,000 a year has increased in the past year – from 1,310 in 2009/10 to 1,338 in 2010/11.
Ms Killian was paid £285,152 in 2009/10, but her new package makes her the highest-paid council chief in the whole country and she also acts as chief executive of Brentwood Borough Council.
However, the payouts have angered opposition councillors and Government ministers, keen to see council salaries cut back.
A county council spokesman argued in reality, Ms Killian’s role as chief executive of the two councils saved the taxpayer money.
He said: “While Ms Killian did get a one-off bonus of £6,900 in April, this was for work completed in year 2009/10.
“In October, Ms Killian voluntarily accepted a five per cent reduction in her annual salary and has received no base pay increase or bonus since then. To suggest she has had an increase in salary is completely wrong.”
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