Pay-cut call for council bosses

Grahame Morris
Grahame Morris
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AN MP is calling for the salaries of senior council officers to be made public and cut in the face of cost savings.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has contacted Durham County Council to ask how it intends to reduce its management costs in light of cutbacks it is being forced to make.

He believes the chief executive, deputy chief executive and five directors of services are each on £100,000-plus a year, with the authority confirming 108 staff were on more than £65,000.

Mr Morris asked the council to tell him how many are paid more than the lower figure, as that is an MP’s salary.

Durham County Council is set to cut 1,600 jobs as it is faced with saving £125million from its budget over the next four years.

Mr Morris has been driven to query the management costs afterpublic anger over the £10,000 rise Hartlepool Borough Council’s chief executive has received.

The Labour MP, a former NHS worker, called for action after spending time with care staff who face being transferred from the public service to a private sector company.

The 177 employees, who are based in the region, will earn a near-minimum wage for gruelling work to look after the most vulnerable in our communities.

Durham County Council’s chief executive George Garlick is reported to be paid £200,000 a year, a pay packet Mr Morris has called “inflated.”

Mr Morris has suggested a lower wage for senior staff would still attract a good calibre of managers.

He has also said front-line workers, such as carers, should be paid twice as much, while the top players in the authority paid half as much as their current wage.

He said: “I haven’t got an axe to grind with George Garlick or any of the senior managers.

“I know these cuts are being imposed by central Government.

“But these carers are looking after the most vulnerable in their homes.

“The council has got to balance the books and they have got to recognise that salaries are one of the things that can’t continue.”

The council is looking to reduce its management costs by 30 per cent in the next four years through its Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP), brought in to deal with the Government cuts.

Assistant chief executive Loraine O’Donnell said: “Reviews across all our services will be conducted to finalise the details of how savings will be found including management savings.

“Management savings through the MTFP are on top of those already realised through local Government reorganisation, where a single management team replaced eight previously in existence, saving £2.8million per year.”