Basildon revealed to have highest paid council boss in South Essex

The top boss at Basildon Council had combined earnings of more than £220,000 between the start of April 2018 and the end of March 2019, while those in charge of other south Essex councils took home close to £200,000.

New figures published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance shows just how much the top bosses at councils are earning each year when their salary is combined with pensions, expenses and other entitlements such as bonuses.

For the south Essex region, Basildon’s chief executive Scott Logan topped the list with a total of £221,853.

Mr Logan served as the council’s managing director until June 2018 when he was made chief exec.

Trailing behind Mr Logan is Thurrock’s chief executive Lyn Carpenter whose total is £199,113 and Southend’s chief executive Alison Griffin’s at £176,591.

A spokesman for Basildon Council said: “We have reduced management costs by over £300,000 in the last two years, including reductions worth up to £10,000 off the salary package of the chief executive since the 2018-19 salary. Council tax was frozen as part of this year’s budget set at full council.

“Basildon Council is transparent about the pay packages of senior members of staff and we operate a performance scheme which is administered independently and scrutinised by elected councillors.”

The data combines a number of figures, with Mr Logan’s earning being calculated by combining his salary of £166,025 with his expenses entitlement of £3,963, “other” payments of £21,831 and his pension at £30,034.

Comparing just salaries would show the biggest earner is Thurrock’s chief executive whose salary is £171,501 against Mr Logan’s £166,025 and Ms Griffin’s £151,450.

Councillor Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council, said: “Aside from dealing with the current pandemic, we are a large unitary authority responsible for delivering hundreds of services, including adult and children’s social care, education and highways, and manage an annual revenue budget of £360 million. It is therefore right that we have an appropriate senior management structure in place.

“We recognise that, in the context of managing scarce public resources, salaries at all levels need to be adequate to secure and retain high quality employees dedicated to the service of the public, but at the same time needs to avoid being unnecessarily generous or otherwise excessive, and as part of this salary increases for all levels of officers have been kept consistently low in recent years and in line with those agreed nationally.”

A spokesman for Thurrock Council said: “Thurrock Council senior staff salaries are set as part of an independent pay review which takes place every year.

“Senior Officer salaries’ in Thurrock are in line with those paid by comparable unitary authorities and London boroughs.”

The council ‘rich list’ is published annually by the Taxpayers’ Alliance which calls itself an independent, grassroots campaign group but critics have pointed out that it has had several connections to the Conservative Party as well as the Brexit Vote Leave organisation.

The alliance has also come under fire for refusing to publish details of its income or donors.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter