Anger as council secures rise in chief executive’s salary

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EXTRA money is being found for the salary of a new South Yorkshire council boss – despite the authority making massive spending cuts.

Barnsley Council has appointed Diana Terris, top officer at Warrington Council for the last five years, as its new chief executive.

Her salary will be £148,500 although that will be cut by 5 per cent until next spring, but the cost is an increase on the salary of about £138,000 a year that previous chief executive Phil Coppard was earning when he was forced out of the council several months ago.

That salary was also reduced, so Mr Coppard was effectively earning about £132,000 when he left.

But Ms Terris is taking a pay cut to join Barnsley Council – her salary in Warrington was £165,000. She said: “Despite the significant challenges facing all of local government, Barnsley offers great opportunities for innovation and growth.”

The appointment is being questioned by the Barnsley Independent Group, whose spokesman, Coun Phill Birkinshaw, said: “The first thing I would ask is whether we really need a chief executive in these difficult times. We have chief officers within departments. Are they not capable of working and sorting things out between them? I am sure they are.”

The decision to increase the salary comes at a time when the council is reducing its workforce through redundancies and cutting public services or making costs for some services more expensive.

Ray Oldroyd, secretary of the Unison union in Barnsley, which represents many council staff, said: “This is a £10,000 pay increase at a time when our members have suffered significant cuts.”

Ms Terris will have to oversee cuts of about £24 million by 2015, on top of £20m already introduced as a result of government-imposed spending cuts.