THE roles of Darlington Borough Council’s highest paid employees have been revealed.

The Northern Echo has received confirmation of the roles and responsibilities undertaken by the 12 officers paid more than £74,000 a year.

The authority’s Chief Executive Ada Burns and its new Director of Children and Adult Services, Suzanne Joyner, are among those taking home a substantial pay packet.

Darlington Borough Council did not provide exact figures relating to the 12 officers’ wages as they stand in 2016.

However, figures from March 2015 show Ms Burns had an annual salary of £150,720, more than Prime Minister David Cameron, who earns a combined ministerial and parliamentary wage of around £142,500.

Ms Burns is responsible for the management of the authority and key strategic policy objectives and priorities as well as the overall management of all council functions.

Ms Joyner is believed to earn more than £90,000 for her role in providing leadership and direction and ensuring delivery of targets in areas including children’s services, adult social care, safeguarding and education services.

The 2015 figures show that Murray Rose, the council’s Director of Commissioning, earned an annual salary of £115,725.

Mr Rose is responsible for commissioning public and health services in a role that will be deleted next month.

His responsibilities and functions will then transfer the remit of the Director of Children and Adult Services.

The Director of Economic Growth, Ian Williams, is paid more than £106,000 a year to provide leadership in areas including economic growth, planning and development control, regulation, highways and transport and capital projects.

Paul Wildsmith, the council’s Director of Neighbourhood Services and Resources, is another high earner.

Mr Wildsmith, whose 2015 salary stood at £115,725, is responsible for leadership and direction relating to environmental services; leisure, arts and culture; housing; building; health and safety; finance; legal; democratic services; HR and ICT.

The director of public health, Miriam Davidson, took home a salary of £97,000 last year.

Ms Davidson acts as an advocate of public health and has responsibility for promoting and protecting health and wellbeing, tackling health inequalities and improving healthcare quality.

Others earning more than £74,000 a year are the council’s assistant director for economic initiative; the assistant director for highways, design and projects; assistant director for regeneration projects; assistant director for community services; assistant director for housing and building services and the assistant director for finance and human resources.

While Darlington Borough Council declined to comment, papers released ahead of an upcoming special council meeting suggest the authority is considering a reduction in senior management roles.

A report prepared for a the meeting – taking place at the Town Hall on Thursday, February 25 – also suggests senior management costs within DBC are amongst the lowest of comparable local authorities and currently comprise 1.4 per cent of revenue budgets.

CONCERN over pay-packets should be directed at the private sector first, according to the High Pay Centre think-tank.

The deputy director of the High Pay Centre said the pay of chief executives working for local authorities was significantly less than those working in the private sector.

He said: “When it comes to listed companies, the pay of a CEO, when compared to the quantum of pay of council chiefs is much higher.

“When you compare the CEOs of large, listed companies to council chiefs, it is on a different scale altogether.

“The average pay for a CEO of a FTSE 100 company, for example, would run close to £8m per annum.

“At a local authority you’d be taking a couple of hundred thousand at most.

“If people are going to be concerned about executive pay, the problem with listed companies is of the first order with public authorities being of the second.

“It’s very difficult to comment on whether the pay is justified as authorities have different responsibilities, sizes and demographics.”

THE TAXPAYERS' Alliance advised restraint in the face of diminishing budgets.

Dia Chakravarty, Political Director at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "These salaries will certainly raise eyebrows.

"At a time when hard-pressed families are struggling and colleagues across the public sector are dealing with pay freeze or worse, questions will be asked about whether the Council has got its priorities right.

"Town Hall bosses will continue to have to make some very tough decisions to find necessary savings.

"They must show restraint when it comes to their own pay packages as well."