Council boss gets £25,000 pay rise while lowest paid offered two per cent

TOP EARNER: Chief executive Phillip Morton

TOP EARNER: Chief executive Phillip Morton

First published in News
Last updated

A COUNCIL chief executive’s pay has rocketed 25 per cent in two years whilst its lowest paid workers have been offered two per cent, prompting calls for more scrutiny on top public sector pay.

The head of Hambleton District Council, Phillip Morton, was taken on in 2012 at £100,000 and is now earning £125,000 after management restructuring.

Previously the North Yorkshire authority had shared the chief executive role and senior management team with neighbouring Richmondshire District Council under its money-saving, shared services agreement.

But when the shared chief executive left, the two councils re-established their own management teams.

Although Mr Morton’s salary is amongst the lowest for chief executives in the North-East and North Yorkshire, the timing of the rise has been criticised, with many tax payers struggle to afford essentials with the cost of living crisis.

A Hambleton District Councillor, who this week tried to raise the issue of the £25,000 pay rise, had his attempts stifled when he tried to speak up about it in a public meeting.

Councillor Ken Billings tried to bring up the issue at the end of Tuesday’s (July 22) cabinet meeting, but was told the minutes he was referring to had already been approved earlier in the meeting - and it was against council procedure to discuss approved minutes.

The Northallerton councillor said: “If I’d been given the opportunity to speak I would have asked what the additional roles and responsibilities were in this new structure to warrant this kind of increase at a time when public sector pay is supposed to be restricted.

“When they announced there was going to be corporate management restructuring, I said I hoped this wasn’t an opportunity to give the people at the top a big pay rise."

He added: “There’s no justification for these figures. This is only a small council, it’s not a county council or a unitary council it’s a local district council and this kind of salary increase just isn’t warranted.

“I feel the council has been led on a short lead over this. They’ve just rubber-stamped it and it’s gone through.

“Public sector pay is supposed to be constrained at the moment but executive pay seems to be exempt - you would think they didn’t work for the public sector.”

But council leader Mark Robson said Hambleton is one of the few authorities not to be cutting services. He said staff had also been offered a two per cent pay rise, which was more than the one per cent the Government recommended.

He said the chief executive pay was publicised on the council website and had been approved by full council.

He said: “It’s all part of the restructuring which was approved by council. Bear in mind before the reorganisation we had five directors and now we have three. We have saved £511,000 since the restructuring.

“Phil Morton has a background in economic development. Our economic strategy will put prosperity into the heart of the community in Hambleton and he will play a significant role in that.”

Despite Government calls for public sector pay restraint, many councils in the country are handing out huge salaries to its top earners whilst cutting services. About 61 per cent of councils in the UK paid their biggest earners more than the Prime Minister, who receives £142,500.

That includes Darlington Borough Council, whose chief executive Ada Burns receives £156,720.

Hartlepool Borough Council said it had reduced its chief executive pay band from £158,000 / £168,000 to £142,000 as part of cost-saving measures.

Unison, which represents workers in the public sector, said at a time when many tax payers and council workers were struggling to pay for essentials such as food and heating, it was unacceptable for public money to be spent on such huge salaries.

Chris Jenkinson, Unison’s regional head of local government in Yorkshire said: “It is clearly wrong for the chief executive to receive such a huge pay rise on top of what is already a very high salary.

“Our members in local government have suffered a 20 per cent reduction in their incomes over the past four years caused by central government cuts and pay freezes.

“The vast majority of those members are facing a massive struggle just to pay for the basics of life – food, shelter and ever more expensive gas and electricity costs. They were forced to take strike action to support a pay rise to help them out of this poverty trap imposed by their employers.”

Comments (15)

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8:53am Fri 25 Jul 14

oliviaden6 says...

The FAT CATS are making Hay whilst the sun shines, of course its at the expense of the lower paid blue collar workers. At the end of the day the management will line its own purse before anything else because it is total greed! They do no more or no less for the package, but we the tax/rate payers still have to stump up each month each year for a ever dwindling service and lack of firm leadership. At he end of the day they are in power to look after all our interests is all they do is look after themselves.
SHAMEFUL to say the LEAST
The FAT CATS are making Hay whilst the sun shines, of course its at the expense of the lower paid blue collar workers. At the end of the day the management will line its own purse before anything else because it is total greed! They do no more or no less for the package, but we the tax/rate payers still have to stump up each month each year for a ever dwindling service and lack of firm leadership. At he end of the day they are in power to look after all our interests is all they do is look after themselves. SHAMEFUL to say the LEAST oliviaden6
  • Score: 17

10:18am Fri 25 Jul 14

Davy Crocket says...

Greed and corruption are what destroyed the Roman Empire ...
Greed and corruption are what destroyed the Roman Empire ... Davy Crocket
  • Score: 10

11:23am Fri 25 Jul 14

stevegg says...

These hypocrites cannot be shamed and are blatant about their greed. Like all public sector heirachy (including MP's) they try to convince us they are worth every penny and protect their own pay, pensions and conditions at all costs whilst sacrificing all before them. Yet they preach the exact opposite for everyone and everything else saying there is no money to spare. Were all in this together alright!
These hypocrites cannot be shamed and are blatant about their greed. Like all public sector heirachy (including MP's) they try to convince us they are worth every penny and protect their own pay, pensions and conditions at all costs whilst sacrificing all before them. Yet they preach the exact opposite for everyone and everything else saying there is no money to spare. Were all in this together alright! stevegg
  • Score: 21

12:16pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Pierremontquaker03 says...

If people want to earn this sort of money ...fine...but do it in the Private sector > work for your self, start a business or work your way up the corporate ladder.
The public sector is completely different and we, the tax payer, should not be paying salaries of this extreme when people are going to food banks and struggling to survive - the whole Public sector pay needs a rethink - salary grades and salary caps need to happen!
If people want to earn this sort of money ...fine...but do it in the Private sector > work for your self, start a business or work your way up the corporate ladder. The public sector is completely different and we, the tax payer, should not be paying salaries of this extreme when people are going to food banks and struggling to survive - the whole Public sector pay needs a rethink - salary grades and salary caps need to happen! Pierremontquaker03
  • Score: 20

1:04pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Northcroft says...

obscene, just because he may look like Bruce Forsyth there's no need to pay him like Bruce. . . .
obscene, just because he may look like Bruce Forsyth there's no need to pay him like Bruce. . . . Northcroft
  • Score: 11

1:36pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Earl_Lee_Dawes says...

As a local government officer who has had to manage on 0% and 1% pay rises over the last 5 years, this increase is obscene. I accept that we have to attempt to cut costs, but this man's huge salary increase is why the public have such a low opinion of councils.
As a local government officer who has had to manage on 0% and 1% pay rises over the last 5 years, this increase is obscene. I accept that we have to attempt to cut costs, but this man's huge salary increase is why the public have such a low opinion of councils. Earl_Lee_Dawes
  • Score: 14

1:58pm Fri 25 Jul 14

budgiegirl says...

At DCC the Careconnect service had a million pounds cut off its budget due to government cuts as a result everyone had to go onto 12 hour shifts and those on temporary contracts were finished...this resulted in ERVR being took by those who couldn't do the shifts for whatever reasons.....one manager retired all the others are still there and two of them got £7000 rise each!!!!! a cost cutting exercise I don't think so....
At DCC the Careconnect service had a million pounds cut off its budget due to government cuts as a result everyone had to go onto 12 hour shifts and those on temporary contracts were finished...this resulted in ERVR being took by those who couldn't do the shifts for whatever reasons.....one manager retired all the others are still there and two of them got £7000 rise each!!!!! a cost cutting exercise I don't think so.... budgiegirl
  • Score: 12

1:58pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Trev Pearson says...

To be fair, did he demand the payrise or was it offered to him? Either way, the NE report does state that the payrise was voted for by Hambleton Councillors.
To be fair, did he demand the payrise or was it offered to him? Either way, the NE report does state that the payrise was voted for by Hambleton Councillors. Trev Pearson
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Fri 25 Jul 14

malwood9 says...

Oink, oink move along the trough there and get those plebs out of the way as well.
Oink, oink move along the trough there and get those plebs out of the way as well. malwood9
  • Score: 4

5:42pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Triglet says...

Northcroft wrote:
obscene, just because he may look like Bruce Forsyth there's no need to pay him like Bruce. . . .
Funny
[quote][p][bold]Northcroft[/bold] wrote: obscene, just because he may look like Bruce Forsyth there's no need to pay him like Bruce. . . .[/p][/quote]Funny Triglet
  • Score: 1

6:34pm Fri 25 Jul 14

George19 says...

He said the chief executive pay was publicised on the council website and had been approved by full council. BUT NOT BY THE PUBLIC WHO'S MONEY IT IS.
He said the chief executive pay was publicised on the council website and had been approved by full council. BUT NOT BY THE PUBLIC WHO'S MONEY IT IS. George19
  • Score: 8

10:22pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Spy Boy says...

'Executive' is getting to be a dirty word. As far as I'm concerned, they are a total drain on any business that they move into. It's like the rise of the rodent. They all talk the same and follow the Church of Powerpoint. They just don't seem to able to actually connect with real people. Come on businesses and government departments, get rid of executives and see how they have been such a drain on your resources.

Darlington's Chief Executive is on a lot more money than this and they have still given her a huge bonus for nothing.
'Executive' is getting to be a dirty word. As far as I'm concerned, they are a total drain on any business that they move into. It's like the rise of the rodent. They all talk the same and follow the Church of Powerpoint. They just don't seem to able to actually connect with real people. Come on businesses and government departments, get rid of executives and see how they have been such a drain on your resources. Darlington's Chief Executive is on a lot more money than this and they have still given her a huge bonus for nothing. Spy Boy
  • Score: 5

8:49am Sat 26 Jul 14

mikyman says...

I'm sure this gentleman didn't demand this massive pay rise.
Just a thought but he could always decline the increase,or give it to a local charity,food bank? perhaps.
This action would show the councillors up!
Don't forget it was voted through by your elected representatives.
Just remind them of it next May!
I'm sure this gentleman didn't demand this massive pay rise. Just a thought but he could always decline the increase,or give it to a local charity,food bank? perhaps. This action would show the councillors up! Don't forget it was voted through by your elected representatives. Just remind them of it next May! mikyman
  • Score: 5

10:18pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Equity1 says...

Government is full of millionaires what do you expect - minimum wage ? Jobs for the boys exists in every industry - just ask any police and crime commissioner ? Taking the something out of decent hard working people ! Horrible .
Government is full of millionaires what do you expect - minimum wage ? Jobs for the boys exists in every industry - just ask any police and crime commissioner ? Taking the something out of decent hard working people ! Horrible . Equity1
  • Score: 1

2:22pm Sun 27 Jul 14

MWatts says...

Sorry all, but the salary doesn't seem that high bearing in mind his responsibility. There are headteachers making that sort of money. And if the net result is 5 directors are down to 3, there's an overall saving. Presumably with the three remaining directors taking on responsibility of the missing two.

As one poster says, if you want higher money go to the private sector (if you think it indeed exists there) and fill your boots. I know plenty in the private sector who are working 50 hour weeks, without pensions, and haven't got anywhere close to council workers rises over the last few years.

Honestly, what do you want - people on £25k running councils? You can't find someone who can tie their own shoelace for that sort of money.
Sorry all, but the salary doesn't seem that high bearing in mind his responsibility. There are headteachers making that sort of money. And if the net result is 5 directors are down to 3, there's an overall saving. Presumably with the three remaining directors taking on responsibility of the missing two. As one poster says, if you want higher money go to the private sector (if you think it indeed exists there) and fill your boots. I know plenty in the private sector who are working 50 hour weeks, without pensions, and haven't got anywhere close to council workers rises over the last few years. Honestly, what do you want - people on £25k running councils? You can't find someone who can tie their own shoelace for that sort of money. MWatts
  • Score: 0

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