Outcry as 15 Somerset County Council staff revealed to earn more than £96,000

County Hall in Taunton.

County Hall in Taunton.

First published in News This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

COUNTY Hall is accused of paying “bloated” salaries to top officers – with 15 posts listed as costing taxpayers more than £96,000 each.

Top Somerset County Council earner at the start of the year was chief executive Sheila Wheeler – who has since left – on £160,000 plus pension contributions of £21,600.

Group director of operations Patrick Flaherty, who has stepped into Ms Wheeler’s role on an acting basis, receives £130,000 with £17,550 towards his pension.

A further five posts earn £100,000, although one of them was vacant, along with pension contributions of at least £13,500.

Another high-flier failed to reach six figures in pay – but pensions contributions took economic and community infrastructure operations director Michele Cusack’s full remuneration past £100,000.

A total of seven staff get £85,000 plus pension contributions of £11,475 while 25 managers are paid between £54,978 and £63,039, and enjoy pension contributions of up to £8,246.

A member of staff, who asked not to be named, said: “Lots of people have lost their jobs, most of us haven’t had a decent pay rise in ages and there have been enormous cuts, leading to poorer service delivery.

“Yet the bosses are still laughing all the way to the bank.

“It creates a ‘them and us’ culture and destroys morale.”

John O’Connell, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers are still paying far too much for bloated salaries for the town hall top brass.

“It’s hard for council executives to retain the moral authority to make tough decisions on council spending if they believe their own pay and perks are immune.

“Councillors need to insist that their local authority does more to find savings and cut back on staff costs that residents cannot afford.”

A county council spokesman said: “We have reduced the number of senior managers at the council.

“We have reduced the number of directors at the council.

“Our senior leadership team has had no pay rise at all for the past two years – a real time pay cut of more than 7%.

Somerset County Council has reduced the total pay bill over the past two years and has cut back office staff in order to fund extra frontline staff in key areas like children’s centres.

“The TaxPayers’ Alliance should welcome this approach.”

Comments (7)

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8:19pm Tue 29 Apr 14

TauntonFirst says...

You think this is bad... Countless 'Managers' at MPH get paid a lot more.
You think this is bad... Countless 'Managers' at MPH get paid a lot more. TauntonFirst
  • Score: 6

8:24pm Tue 29 Apr 14

sandrada says...

We need competent professionals in these posts, and they need a salary commensurate with their abilities. However, there is a difference in what a person is paid, and in what they earn. Too often some officials are paid a big salary but not doing enough to earn it. They sometimes delegate a lot and this means that staff on lower wages are the ones coming up with the goods rather than the senior staff. The lower paid council staff often take a lot of flak for being in the public sector, and perceived as being tea drinking and non productive and contributing nothing to the local economy. This is hogwash. I dont believe any public servant goes to work thinking "I will do as little as possible, I dont want to be of help to the public, " etc etc. They are in these posts because they have a work ethic and want to serve their community. And no, I am not a council worker!
So lets have effective officers in posts at all levels, paid the rate for the job, and stop gratuitously denegrating them. And those who warble on about tax payers money funding public sector workers wages, should remember that all public sector workers pay tax and National Insurance too.
We need competent professionals in these posts, and they need a salary commensurate with their abilities. However, there is a difference in what a person is paid, and in what they earn. Too often some officials are paid a big salary but not doing enough to earn it. They sometimes delegate a lot and this means that staff on lower wages are the ones coming up with the goods rather than the senior staff. The lower paid council staff often take a lot of flak for being in the public sector, and perceived as being tea drinking and non productive and contributing nothing to the local economy. This is hogwash. I dont believe any public servant goes to work thinking "I will do as little as possible, I dont want to be of help to the public, " etc etc. They are in these posts because they have a work ethic and want to serve their community. And no, I am not a council worker! So lets have effective officers in posts at all levels, paid the rate for the job, and stop gratuitously denegrating them. And those who warble on about tax payers money funding public sector workers wages, should remember that all public sector workers pay tax and National Insurance too. sandrada
  • Score: 2

9:11pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Mi_Coc says...

TauntonFirst wrote:
You think this is bad... Countless 'Managers' at MPH get paid a lot more.
Hence why the government is trying to privatise it! You want half the staff on 6 figure salaries it's killing the NHS
[quote][p][bold]TauntonFirst[/bold] wrote: You think this is bad... Countless 'Managers' at MPH get paid a lot more.[/p][/quote]Hence why the government is trying to privatise it! You want half the staff on 6 figure salaries it's killing the NHS Mi_Coc
  • Score: 7

9:14am Wed 30 Apr 14

benners_2k says...

“Our senior leadership team has had no pay rise at all for the past two years – a real time pay cut of more than 7%.

Boo hoo hoo - the rest of the staff haven't had a pay rise for 5 years apart from the insulting 0.95% we got last time.
“Our senior leadership team has had no pay rise at all for the past two years – a real time pay cut of more than 7%. Boo hoo hoo - the rest of the staff haven't had a pay rise for 5 years apart from the insulting 0.95% we got last time. benners_2k
  • Score: 8

11:03am Fri 2 May 14

Mi_Coc says...

benners_2k wrote:
“Our senior leadership team has had no pay rise at all for the past two years – a real time pay cut of more than 7%.

Boo hoo hoo - the rest of the staff haven't had a pay rise for 5 years apart from the insulting 0.95% we got last time.
I have never understood this payrise culture in the public sector.

How can you describe a pay rise as insulting its better than nothing, it should be performance related as any pay rise I have had has been based on my performance good within the role.

If you want to rewarded for failure become a banker!
[quote][p][bold]benners_2k[/bold] wrote: “Our senior leadership team has had no pay rise at all for the past two years – a real time pay cut of more than 7%. Boo hoo hoo - the rest of the staff haven't had a pay rise for 5 years apart from the insulting 0.95% we got last time.[/p][/quote]I have never understood this payrise culture in the public sector. How can you describe a pay rise as insulting its better than nothing, it should be performance related as any pay rise I have had has been based on my performance good within the role. If you want to rewarded for failure become a banker! Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

11:14pm Sat 3 May 14

jellyonaplate says...

There's your answer to making cuts. Slash these wages to a sensible amount. Stop raising our council tax while your earning a filthy amount of money. Very angry.
There's your answer to making cuts. Slash these wages to a sensible amount. Stop raising our council tax while your earning a filthy amount of money. Very angry. jellyonaplate
  • Score: 1

1:08pm Sun 4 May 14

Mi_Coc says...

The silence on this thread from the socialists is deafing no support for the public servants on there 96k plus wages.
The silence on this thread from the socialists is deafing no support for the public servants on there 96k plus wages. Mi_Coc
  • Score: -1

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