Chesterfield Borough Council defends decision to hire two £85k bosses

Chesterfield Town Hall.
Chesterfield Town Hall.

Cash-strapped council chiefs have defended their decision to employ two new executive directors each on £85,000 per year.

A group representing taxpayers claims the move by Chesterfield Borough Council – which needs to save £1million over the next year – will “raise eyebrows”.

But the authority insists the controversial step will actually cut the cost and number of senior managers.

Andy Silvester, campaigns manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Councils across the UK are having to find savings after years of spending beyond their means – so these salaries will raise eyebrows.

“At a time when the council is pleading poverty and talking about increasing charges, local residents will want to know that every penny of these significant pay packets is hard-earned.”

Huw Bowen, chief executive at the borough council, said: “This move will actually save taxpayers £110,000 each year and follows a restructure of our senior management team that will see five head of service posts removed and replaced with two new executive director posts and a chief finance officer post.

“This is on top of the £181,000 saved since 2012 by not filling the vacant deputy chief executive and head of housing posts.

“The changes made actually reduce the cost and number of senior managers – something which the Taxpayers’ Alliance has been campaigning for.

“It also seeks to ensure the council has the very best senior officers to implement the decisions of the town’s politicians so we can continue to deliver great facilities and services for the people of Chesterfield.

“These types of restructures have happened throughout the organisation as we seek to deliver high-quality customer services while also reducing costs.”

The new posts were originally advertised internally and the affected employees were invited to apply for their jobs.

Both were unsuccessful and have received undisclosed redundancy payments so the posts are now being advertised externally.