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Council Defends Chief Executive Salary Decision

Thursday April 26 2012

THE council should brace itself to take the flack for a decision to pay its new chief executive almost £150,000-a-year, according to the council leader.

At a meeting of full council today (Thursday) it was agreed that Diana Terris - chief executive of Warrington Council - would be appointed to take on the role for Barnsley from August.

But the decision to give her a salary of £148,500-a-year was met with some criticism - especially as it emerged the council will be paying her more than the former chief executive Phil Coppard - who left in January on a salary of around £138,000.

Council leader Steve Houghton defended the salary saying it was actually less that what similar sized councils paid out for their chief executives.

He said: "The best thing we can do as a council is get the best possible candidate for the job. It isn't just about making cuts it's about reshaping the borough and we need the best possible person to do that.

"For people on low pay that salary is another world - it is for many people in our community. There will be some flack.

"I don't blame people for having concerns but I thing it is entirely the right thing to do given the difficult circumstances."

The council had 22 applications for the job - they shortlisted four and interviewed them in a gruelling interview that lasted two days.

Coun Houghton added: "Diana Terris was a strong candidate and would do a good job for us in Barnsley. It was clear that given her existing salary we would have to negotiate. People may question the salary but you have to look at the market of what we are dealing with when it comes to the rates of chief executives."

It is thought that Diana Terris will take a pay cut to come to Barnsley - as her current salary is thought to be around £165,000. And while Coun John Wilson said he supported the appointment, he did question the salary.

He added: "I do have concerns that we are sending out the wrong message when it comes to salary. We are at a time where we ask our residents to look at a smaller council with reduce services and most people are struggling with prices going up. I do find it difficult to accept."

Diana said: “Despite the significant challenges facing all of local government, Barnsley offers great opportunities for innovation and growth.”

While at Warrington, Diana was key in leading the council’s journey of improvement which has transformed the organisation and its services. This was recognised by the Local Government Chronicle, which shortlisted Warrington as the most improved council of the year 2012.

Her salary at Barnsley will be reduced by five percent until 31 March, bringing the wage closer to £140,000. 

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Reply Posted by Ward Two on Thursday April 26 2012 at 09:15
Would love to know what these people actually do for their money! Think that councils should put job spec's up on site's so people can see what they are meant to be doing, and better hold them to account. I moved to Sheffield 15 years ago because the job prospects were better now Sheffield is as bad as Barnsley. I have grown up not being able to trust Politics in this country which depresses me somewhat. Most people of Barnsley will think like me, prove to us that this person is value for money, along with other positions within the council. Plus stop making decisions on our behalf without consultation. 

Reply Posted by Xdebxleex on Thursday April 26 2012 at 13:18
i dont care any more think its a load a sh**t wi councillers and goverment am never voting again ,,,

Reply Posted by Stephen Botwright on Thursday April 26 2012 at 14:13
They're pen-pushers, glossy bums!

Reply Posted by Tom on Thursday April 26 2012 at 15:18
"People may question the salary but you have to look at the market of what we are dealing with when it comes to the rates of chief executives.”
It is no free market, that is for sure.  We must pay our council tax by legal decree else face violence, be that in the form of fines, or deprivation of our few remaining freedoms in prison.You can't say a council CEO has a 'market value', because the council is a monopoly organisation of the state itself.  Perhaps if the people could choose to pay council tax, and choose who to pay it to, then maybe there would be a market value, and we could have competing councils, or none at all (if people wished it to be so).If a Barnsley resident wishes to grow food, he must approach the council, he will be told there is an allotment waiting list, he must then wait years to be allotted a plot which he must pay for, he can then start growing food.

Personally I don't think the council should be charging people to grow food, let alone stopping them from doing so in the first place.Food prices are rising, and the council stops people from growing food.  And the CEO of the council will be paid £148k.  We are paying £148k to stop ourselves from growing food.

Given the choice between paying council tax of £1000 per year to an organisation that stops local people from growing food, or spending it on baked beans, spades, seeds and boots.  Then I would suggest the REAL market value of a council CEO is approximately nil.But the people of Barnsley have no choice, the market isn't free.  So on top of being forced to pay £1000, to an organisation that stops people from growing food, the people are forced to hand over £148k of their pooled resources to somebody else.

Perhaps if the council asked residents whether they would like 10 street cleaners on £14.8k, or a new CEO on £148k we would find out how the people of Barnsley would prefer their taxes to be spent.

Reply Posted by pleased as punch on Thursday April 26 2012 at 17:23
Why don't residents of Barnsley look at the Warrington WorldWide news and just see what we all thought of her. Are we glad to see her go. Did we all celebrate

Reply Posted by Guest on Thursday April 26 2012 at 17:58
The table of chief exec salaries is ridiculous. How can you compare Barnsley to major cities like Leeds & Bradford. The only similar area is Rotherham which is vastly better run and perhaps therefore deserves better pay. I suspect we have hired a 'yes woman' to allow the councils cabinet to do whatever it likes.

Reply Posted by Guestymcguest on Friday April 27 2012 at 10:20
link please? It's not like shes going to have much of an agenda, no money to play with at least and only cuts to organise for the forseeable.

Reply Posted by Becky1234 on Friday April 27 2012 at 10:47
As a university graduate of 2010 who is still out of work I am shocked by this. I was told by the job centre that I would be better off moving out of Barnsley due to a lack of jobs and here we have one woman on a wage that would pay for 10 minimum wage jobs.  I hope she improves the town because if not I feel trouble brewing. The people of Barnsley are getting more and more annoyed by the way this town is run and I'm not suprised. I myself am looking for work out of town as I would hate to end up settling down here and bringing my children up here.

I agree with what has been said about employing more street cleaners, there are many areas that are filthy and people may blame others for dropping rubbish but have you ever watched our bin men empty the bins?

I think the money would be better spent on a million other things before this new CEO of Barnsley. Have you ever got a train from sheffield to Barnsley? The area between Wombwell and Barnsley as you get passed the football ground is disgusting. It is full of rubbish and graffetti. I am suprised anyone visiting gets off the train because I don't think I would if I didn't  live here. How about tidying that up first? Or spending it on keeping kids in education? Or fixing the potholes up Summer Lane? All I can say is I'm glad i've never been in the back of an ambulance with a back or neck injury travelling up Summer Lane to get to the hospital.

I agree that Barnsley needs some help getting itself going and that a new person with new ideas is a good idea but is this woman going to live in town? And if so, where in our lovely town is so expensive you need £140,000 a year to live there? (other than Cawthorne).

I wonder how many unemployed university graduates with relevant degrees in politics and city/town development are living unemployed in Barnsley? Surely it would have been nice to give a few of them a job rather than dragging in one person from so far away?

Reply Posted by We dont live in Russia on Friday April 27 2012 at 14:03
Millionaire in just over six years for working for the council....I bet the pay difference between the head of the department and the basic road sweeper wasn't so vast in the 1950's 60s 70s 80s or 90s. Like pigs with their snouts in the money trough....it's a great example set by those at the top...Greed is good...just like African dictators. Their head of departments get similar pay too

Reply Posted by NannyMarr on Friday April 27 2012 at 19:04

Reply Posted by Guestymcguest on Monday April 30 2012 at 08:19
 You'tr right it's disgusting, Im not convinced we even need her.

Reply Posted by Steve Lodge on Monday April 30 2012 at 13:02
£150K a year for a Chief Exec? Is it a high enough salary? I'm not sure it is. In order to attract the best, you need to pay the best, and in real terms, £150k isn't exactly premier league money for CE's. And before people start banging on about it being 'our' money, just remember one thing - if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Let's assume for a moment that the salary was £50k, who would apply for the role?? Obviously no-one with the experience or skill, in which case the £50k would be a total waste of money. Just because it is a public role, it is no reasonto expect someone to come in and do the role for less money than the going rate.

Yes, the salary is far more than most people in Barnsley could dream about earning in a year, but I'm pretty confident the job will be demanding. The stress and expectations, hours etc will be in a different league to what the everyday person has to deal with in their worklife.

The only question I have is, why would someone move jobs and take a paycut??

Reply Posted by Owd Sam on Thursday May 3 2012 at 07:24
She's also a director of 4 other companies, it's hard to believe she'll find time to sort Barnsley's problems out.??