A TOTAL of seven council employees in York took home £100,000 or more last year, it has been revealed.

City of York Council paid just over £1 million in salaries, pensions and expenses for these top earners, including the former chief executive Mary Weastell who received a controversial £400,000 pay out.

The CEO received the highest wage out of the group with £193,444, although a council spokesperson said the role had a base salary of £143,940 and the higher figure included payments in lieu of notice and outstanding holiday pay.

The chief executive’s pay was closely followed by the unnamed 'Deputy Chief Executive & Director Customer & Corporate Services' who earnt £128,150. 

In response to the information, the council said staff receiving top wages had been significantly reduced in an "organisational restructure".

The figures, published in the TaxPayers’ Alliance’s 14th Town Hall Rich List, analysed data from councils across the country.

It provides a comprehensive breakdown of council employees in the UK in receipt of more than £100,000 in the year 2019/20.

Other high paying roles at City of York Council included:

  • Corporate Director Health, Housing & Adult Social Care - £109,268
  • Deputy Chief Executive & Director Customer & Corporate Services - £128,150
  • Corporate Director Economy & Place - £109,275
  • Corporate Director Children, Education & Communities - £109,275
  • Director of Public Health - £105,777
  • Interim Assistant Director - Legal & Governance - £99,230

Essex County Council was found to have the most employees receiving remuneration in excess of £100,000 in the UK with 40.

Meanwhile, in the Yorkshire & Humber region, Leeds topped the list with 18 members of staff receiving over £100,000.

It comes after The Press revealed former council chief executive Ms Weastell was awarded a £400,000 payout at a secret meeting and had taken early retirement last year. It followed the chief executive taking long-term sick leave shortly after the local council elections in May 2019.

The data showed that Ms Weastell's wage was set at £193,444 while her pension was £29,285. Ms Weastell also claimed £230 in expenses.

Ms Weastell went on long term sick leave in May 2019 and her early retirement was agreed in March 2020, at the end of the financial year.

The council said it would not comment on expenses or sick pay for specific employees.

Debbie Mitchell, the council's chief finance officer, said: “As the chief executive left in March 2020, these figures also include payments in lieu of notice and outstanding holiday pay.

"This is on top of the base salary for the role of £143,940, which when compared to other authorities in the region and across the country, is one of the lowest.

"For comparison, Leeds pay £183,924, North Yorkshire pay £179,431 and Sheffield £190k for their chief executive roles.

"On top of this, having reduced our senior management to only three corporate directors, our senior staff are paid collectively only £350k, this compares to costs well over a million per year in Leeds and North Yorkshire.

“Furthermore, since the data in the taxpayer alliance report was compiled, City of York Council has undertaken an organisational restructure with the aim of saving taxpayer money. As a result of reviewing our senior management structure, we have so generated annual recurring savings of £200,000.”

York Press: