Revealed: How many Sunderland City Council staff received more than £100k a year

Former Sunderland City Council chief executive Dave Smith.
Former Sunderland City Council chief executive Dave Smith.
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The number of staff at Sunderland City Council handed more than £100,000 in salary and benefits doubled over the course of a financial year, latest figures show.

The figures were revealed in the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s Town Hall Rich List, which showed that the number of staff at Sunderland City Council getting over £100,000 more than doubled from six in 2014/15 to 13 in 2015/16.

Sunderland Civic Centre

Sunderland Civic Centre

Former chief executive Dave Smith, who has now left the authority after resigning in August 2015, recieved £625,570 in 2015/16, although that included £331,414 in pension contributions.

His salary was £108,686.

Sonia Tognarelli, director of finance and interim head of paid service who left the council in 2016 after 35 years service, received £605,958 in the same year.

An unnamed executive director of People’s Services at the council received £444,495, making them the fifth highest earner in the country.

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said that eight of the 13 members of staff no longer work for the authority.

The council spokesman said: “These figures reflect the terms and conditions for eight senior employees no longer employed by the council, including former chief executive Dr Dave Smith.

“They include payments to the Pension Fund to reflect payments in the future.”

Durham County Council had the most employees who received remuneration in excess of £100,000, in the North East, with 20.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TPA, hit out at the figures.: “The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last 20 years and spending has gone through the roof.

He said: “Disappointingly, many local authorities are now responding to financial reality through further tax rises and reducing services rather than scaling back top pay.

“Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with the number of people on six-figure deals actually going up since last year.”

Coun Claire Kober, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, defended the work of those on councils, saying: “The pay of senior council staff is set by politically proportionate committees of elected councillors and is open to a high level of scrutiny and democratic accountability as a result.”