Council executive pay details revealed

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Wakefield Council paid more than £650,000 in salaries to its top executives in one financial year.

Figures revealed by the right-wing think tank, The Taxpayer’s Alliance, show that departed chief executive Joanne Roney earned £186,254 in 2016/17.

Ms Roney, who was also paid £27,336 in employer pension contributions during the same year, left the local authority to take up the same position at Manchester City Council in March last year.

Wakefield Council’s three corporate directors with responsibility for economic growth, adults, health and communities and children and young people were each paid £121,200 during the same period.

The local authority’s director of public health, meanwhile, earned £105,825.

The Taxpayer’s Alliance published the salaries as part of its annual Town Hall Rich List, which discloses the pay of council executives all over the country.

In an accompanying report which highlighted the councils with the most employees paid over £100,000 and biggest individual salary packages, Wakefield Council did not feature.

The think tank campaigns for lower taxes and cuts to public spending but has faced criticism itself for failing to reveal details of its own financial arrangements and how it is funded.

A spokesman for The Taxpayer’s Alliance said: “Wakefield taxpayers should be furious at this kind of excess.

“Local authorities should focus on helping residents and stop wasting their money on sickening pay packets.”

The spokesman also said Joanne Roney, the former chief executive, had the second best salary of any council chief in Yorkshire.

She is now , reportedly, on almost £200,000 as chief executive at Manchester City Council.

Figures provided by Wakefield Council show that current chief executive Merran McRae earns just over £170,000, some £16,000 less than her predecessor.

The salaries of the other four executive positions have all increased slightly for the financial year 2017/18.

Gillian Connolly, corporate director for business change at Wakefield Council, said: “The chief executive leads a team of 4,728 people (excluding those in schools) with a budget of £235 million.

“The current salary for the role reflects the market rate for a post that carries such a high level of responsibility and demands such a range of skills. The salary was reviewed, when the post became vacant, last year.

“The council has a pay policy and carries out extensive job evaluation to decide appropriate grades for other roles within the organisation, which reflect regional and national guidance for local authorities.”