6-figure payments to 24 county staff

TWENTY-FOUR members of staff at the county council received total renumeration of more than £100,000 in 2010/11, according to figures released by The TaxPayers’ Alliance.

This put Northumberland County Council joint 20th in the country in terms of the number of staff receiving more than £100,000 that year in local authorities.

But currently there are only nine members of staff with salaries of more than £100,000, two of whom are shared appointments with the NHS, which are part-funded by the county council.

Among those earning the top salaries in 2010/11 were chief executive Steve Stewart, with a salary of £172,498, down about eight per cent on the previous year, and Daljit Lally, corporate director of adult services, with a total renumeration of £207,341 – a salary of £169,450, benefits in kind of £7,221 and pension contributions of £30,670.

Others with total renumeration of more than £100,000 were corporate director of children’s services Paul Moffatt, corporate director of finance Steven Mason, and acting chief fire officer Alex Bennett.

The other payments of more than £100,000 were in the form of redundancy payments, which were paid to 19 people in 2010/11 on top of 16 in 2009/10.

A spokesman for the county council said: “Northumberland County Council is totally transparent about senior salaries and an up-to-date list of all senior staff and their responsibilities can be found on our website.

“Over the past three years this council has been making significant savings and the overall number of staff has decreased significantly through redundancy.

“Anyone who was paid a one-off redundancy payment that pushed their annual earnings over the threshold during this period has been included, despite having already left the authority.”

Leader of Northumberland Conservatives, Coun Peter Jackson, said: “Residents of Northumberland will be dismayed by these figures, which come to light just one week after the Lib Dems increased parking charges and cut concessionary bus hours for elderly people and schoolchildren.

“Northumberland Conservatives have been entirely consistent on the issue of council pay for a number of years.

“Given their levels of responsibilities, council staff should not be paid more than the Prime Minister.

“We have previously proposed performance-related pay for senior council officers. High-performing employees should be rewarded in any line of work, but huge pay packets should not be given out to staff regardless of results.

“We regret that other political groups chose not to support this.

“Public money is very scarce right now, but the council just don’t get it and are handing our money over rather too easily.”

Northumberland County Council’s management structure and salaries can be found at http://bit.ly/Jphg7L