Four council bosses cost £500k

Chorley Council’s top four earners pick up £8 short of £500,000 between them.

The figures emerged after the council’s Donna Hall was wrongly named as one of only eight chief executives in the country to have had a pay rise.

According to figures released to the national press after a Freedom of Information request, Ms Hall, who has been at the helm since 2006, has seen her salary rise by £909 to £135,543.

However, she has insisted she’s no ‘fat cat’ and opened up her finances to the Guardian to prove that rather than see her pay go up, she’s taken a voluntary 2.3 per cent pay cut.

The accounts show her total salary package is worth £157,632, which includes a car allowance of £10,640 and annual pension contributions of £23,779.

The figure makes her the second-best paid chief executive of a borough council in Lancashire, just behind Pendle – where the top boss earned £158,169 in 2009/10.

The lowest paid in the county was the chief executive at Ribble Valley Borough Council – where the salary package was worth £105,849.

However, accounts seen by the Guardian show three further directors at Chorley Town Hall top that sum – as they earn £114,120 each.

When combined, it means Chorley Council’s top four earners cost a total of £499,992 a year.

The council says management costs have been halved in the last four years, and the cost of Ms Hall’s salary is split equally between itself and Wyre Council, where she is also chief executive.

The council has written to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, to protest, after Ms Hall was wrongly in included in the ‘naming and shaming’ list of those council bosses to have had a pay rise.

The mother-of-two, who was the awarded the CBE for services to local government, said: “When it came to looking at how we could save money to protect frontline services here in Chorley, it was only right we looked at senior management pay, and that’s what we did.

“The figures in the national press story were wrong.”

Neighbouring South Ribble Council chief executive Mike Nuttall earns £99,954 a year in his combined role as chief financial officer at West Paddock. He also receives a standard local government pension and essential user’s allowance for a car and a mobile phone for work purposes

The three directors at Chorley Council each earn a basic salary of £90,000.

This is boosted by a car allowance of £6,700 and pension contributions, which takes the overall package up to £114,120.

Gary Hall, the council’s director of transformation, said the chief executive’s salary was the same as when she started in 2006.

He said: “The number of senior managers at the council has reduced in recent times as we look to deliver our services in a more efficient way.

“In the last 12 months we have generated £100,000 through the selling of our services, which are in demand from other councils who look to learn from us in terms of providing value for money.

“Very few councils operate in the way. We will continue to look at innovative ways of reducing costs and providing services in the most cost-effective way we can for the benefit of the taxpayer and for which the council is nationally recognised.”