Row over council CEO's ridiculous' £200,000 salary

PUBLISHED: 11:17 15 March 2007 | UPDATED: 12:18 04 May 2010

NEWS that the county council s chief executive earns just shy of £200,000 a year - a greater salary than the Prime Minister - has prompted a furious response from Liberal Democrat councillors. Cllr Nigel Bell, who represents Ely north and east at the coun

NEWS that the county council's chief executive earns just shy of £200,000 a year - a greater salary than the Prime Minister - has prompted a furious response from Liberal Democrat councillors.

Cllr Nigel Bell, who represents Ely north and east at the county council, branded Ian Stewart's £199,999 salary "ridiculous" in the wake of a series of cuts to services.

The figures, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Taxpayers' Alliance, placed Mr Stewart at number six in the top 10 council salaries across the country.

"I think it's ridiculous that he is earning even more than the Prime Minister," Cllr Bell said.

"At a time when vulnerable people are suffering through council cuts it is iniquitous that senior council staff should be so overpaid."

Services were slashed to the tune of £18m in this year's budget, including fresh meals on wheels and £400,000 of cuts to respite care.

Cllr Bell also attacked Mr Stewart's participation in a recent review for the Government's Communities and Local Government Department.

"What is particularly galling is that much of his time is spent on outside bodies and that we are not being recompensed as a council for that," Cllr Bell said.

Cllr Bell said the Liberal Democrats had proposed an alternative budget that would compensate the council for officers' work on outside groups, but that the idea had been dismissed.

A spokesman for the county council described Cllr Bell's comments as "unhelpful".

"His salary is just over £190,000 and this is the going rate for the job.

"The council spends half a billion pounds providing public services and if you want those services delivered and council tax kept low, you must have the right man at the top."

He said Mr Stewart's involvement with the central Government review was a "ringing endorsement of his skills" and that his participation had received cross-party support.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you think the Mr Stewart's salary is too high or is it a fair to pay someone the going rate for a top job?

Write to: the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email: editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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