County council dispute national ‘rich list’ claims

East Sussex County Council. SUS-150923-132751001
East Sussex County Council. SUS-150923-132751001

EAST Sussex County Council has disputed figures revealed in a national public sector ‘rich list’, which claimed five employees ‘earned’ £150,000 or more last year.

The joint investigation between the Mail and the Taxpayers’ Alliance showed 17 council employees earning £100,000 or more, with chief executive Becky Shaw costing taxpayers a total of £219,000 – including annual salary and pension.

Becky Shaw

Becky Shaw

But the county council said the chief executive was the only member of staff on more than £150,000, adding their figures did not match others in the investigation.

A spokesman said: “The senior officers we employ are responsible for more than 15,000 staff and a gross annual budget of £783 million, delivering vital services to the people of East Sussex.

“It’s very important that we are able to attract the best candidates, who have the skills, experience and knowledge to do carry out their roles effectively.”

The county council sent its own list of senior employee salaries – for the 2014/15 financial year – which showed seven staff on basic salaries of £100,000 or more.

Four staff had basic wages of between £123,142 and £137,775, all with employee pension contributions of nearly £25,000 and £28,000.

The spokesman said the council also did not recognise the investigation’s findings of an unnamed head teacher ‘earning’ £150,000.

He said: “Our policy is to pay salaries which are in line with average salaries to those doing similar jobs elsewhere in the public sector in the south east, and this applies to all staff, including senior managers.

“We have faced, and continue to face, significant funding cuts and to help us make the required savings, in recent years we have reduced the number of senior managers by a quarter.”

Across the districts, the investigation claimed the number of staff on more than £100,000 were as follows:

Eastbourne - three

Wealden - three

Hastings - three

Rother - two

Lewes - one

West Sussex County Council’s former chief executive Kieran Stigant was identified as the highest ‘earner’ in the south east and second-highest council boss in the country, costing taxpayers £396,143, including pension, salary and redundancy payment.

Click here for a full list of ESCC salaries, available on the county council’s website.