Retiring Wandsworth Chief Exec Tops Pay List

With over two hundred Chief Execs earning more than the Prime Minister

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More than 100 Chief Execs earned over £200,000 last year while many employees are facing freezes in salaries and residents face cuts in services.  Over 221 council executives picked up more than Prime Minister David Cameron’s annual salary of £142,500.

Topping the list was Wandsworth's retiring Chief Exec Gerald Jones who earned £356,891 including a £50,000 bonus.  His replacement Peter Martin who is moving from Sutton Council will be receiving a lower salary - the position was advertised with a salary “in the region of £200,000” which is as we reported in July a rise for Mr Martin but a saving for the Council.

A spokesman for the Council told defended the figures:
"Councils like Wandsworth are a £900m a year business and look after over £3 billion of public assets. Senior officers have to manage that business and at the same time accept responsibility for meeting a host of performance and service targets. Over the 25 years that our chief executive has been in post the cumulative efficiency and other savings achieved on behalf of local taxpayers is some £4 billion, plus over £1 billion in capital receipts from improved use of assets. Given the risks, demands and pressures of the job it is important that this is recognised in remuneration packages.

"Our current Band D council tax bill of £687 is half the UK average and is the lowest in the country. We have had an "excellent" rating for the past seven years for all our services and are ranked by the Audit Commission as number one in the country for value for money. We also have the highest satisfaction ratings from our residents of any local authority in the UK. These unrivalled successes are the results of employing the right people in a very competitive field."

Mr Jones is London's longest serving local authority chief executive, and was originally due to retire in Summer 2008 but stayed on to see the Council through a period of senior staff retirements.

Not everyone thinks that the figures are unreasonable, Peter Bingle CE of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs was quoted in The Dispatch Box blog this morning:
"I was amused to see that my old friend the Chief Executive of Wandsworth Council Gerald Jones hit the news over the weekend. The issue was the size of his package. I know Gerald well. He is the best chief executive in local government. If his package of £357k was doubled he would still be great value. In these difficult times it is essential that stars are rewarded and duds are fired."


August 16, 2010