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Huge earnings of SCC top man

PUBLISHED: 16:51 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:15 01 August 2010

THE new person in charge at Suffolk County Council is to be paid up to £220,000 - a rise of up to 43pc which could see him or her earning more than the prime minister.

THE new person in charge at Suffolk County Council is to be paid up to £220,000 - a rise of up to 43pc which could see him or her earning more than the prime minister.

Current chief executive Mike More is getting a £50,000 pay rise by leaving Suffolk to become chief executive of the City of Westminster borough on £200,000 a year, although he could potentially earn even more by asking for his old job back.

The county council may not even exist in two years' time, but council leader Jeremy Pembroke said the council cannot be left floundering and needs to have someone who can drive forward a business with a £1bn budget.

The council has been told by its recruitment agency that the £150,000 pay of the current chief executive Mike More “is insufficiently competitive” to secure the continued interest of candidates shortlisted for the post. The county had advertised the post on a pay scale of £154,000-£176,000, but has raised the upper limit by 25pc to £220,000.

Prime minister Gordon Brown gets £176,000, although his pay packet also includes two homes rent-free.

A shake-up of council boundaries and plans for new unitary authorities means that Suffolk County Council may not exist in two or three years' time.

Mr Pembroke said: “We have to push on despite the uncertainties of the council's future. We have to deliver a service to our residents on a day-to-day basis and we have to get the right person in charge.”

Labour opposition leader Julian Swainson said: “I am not querying the revised salary because it is one of the top jobs in local government and Suffolk must offer a substantial package to attract the right person. But I'm on record as doubting whether it this is the right time to make an appointment.”

Liberal Democrats group leader Kathy Pollard said: “It will be difficult for people to understand why a salary of this level is being offered. I'd be interested to know the Tories' rationale for setting the level that high.”

Reg Hartles, chairman of Protest Against Council Tax Suffolk, said: “It's money that would be better spent on frontline services for the people of Suffolk.”

The appointments panel was meeting this week to choose Mr More's successor.

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