A proposal to give Suffolk County Council’s chief executive an 8.6 per cent pay rise on her £156,550 salary has been criticised.
The council’s staff appointments committee will decide whether to approve increasing Deborah Cadman’s salary to £170,000 in line with a national agreement for officers of her level.
The committee will be told that the national average salary for council chief executives is £182,000 and, even at £170,000 she would still earn less than her equivalents on Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Peterborough and Hertfordshire councils, who get between £173,760 and £195,000.
But independent Cllr Trevor Beckwith said that while the council had to comply with national salary agreements, it was questionable whether such an agreement should have been made now.
He said: “It doesn’t seem right we’re getting austerity rammed down out throats day in, day out and all of a sudden we find we’ve got enough money to pay exorbitant salaries.
“We’re talking about the public sector, not the private sector with high flying revenue generators.”
He said most public sector staff only had one or two per cent rises.
Unison regional secretary Glyn Hawker said: “Low-paid public sector workers are again looking at 1 per cent pay rises that are tiny compared to headline-grabbing increases for senior staff in both the public and private sectors. The culture of rewarding those at the top while the wages of other staff are allowed to stagnate is unfair and divisive.
“Senior managers in councils make life-changing decisions affecting ordinary people on a day-to-day basis. They look after multi-million pound budgets, leading complex organisations delivering essential services to their communities, and it is right that their pay reflects the huge responsibilities they hold.
“Whilst their pay may seem high, they do not compare to the true fat-cat salaries of bosses in private companies and public sector contractors, who award themselves multi-million pound salaries and bonuses, irrespective of company performance.”