Wednesday, 24 August 2011


The Telegraph has claimed that former Chief Executive of Thanet District Council Richard Samuel took a 1.7% pay cut in the financial year of 2010/11 before he left his position. This comes from an interactive table compiled by analysing draft accounts which have not yet been audited and are subject to revision. Back in October 2010, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles called for all council chief execs on £150,000 salaries to take a 5% cut, so Samuel's pay reduction seems to have fallen short of that. Although, it has to be said that previously, in 2009/10, Samuel's salary is claimed to have been £142,476, roughly 5% lower than the threshold Pickles was referring to. 

On that basis, perhaps we should be thankful that Samuel cut his salary to £140,037 at all, since he could've easily appealed against it, especially when you compare him to some of the other council chief execs across the UK. Some of them, such as Joanna Killian, joint chef exec of Essex & Brentwood Councils, apparently had her pay increased by £4,000 to a salary of £289,143 – and that's despite widespread budget cuts. Overall, the Telegraph claims that the average salary for a council chief executive is £186,872, so since Samuel's earnings appear to have been below average, we seem to have got off reasonably lightly here in Thanet.

I must state, however, that these stats from the Telegraph don't appear to match up with Thanet District Council's salary data report which claimed that Samuel's FTE salary was £113,625, increasing to £118,625 after receiving cash for his car. Where did the extra £21,412 come from? Since these figures don't seem to corroborate with each other, I'm not so sure what to make of this. Maybe I've misinterpreted the data. I guess you can be the judge. As it happens, assuming the Telegraph is right, I think we should count our blessings. Compared to other chief execs up and down the country, we could've done far worse. 

In any case, it seems Samuel left just before the cuts started to bite and the poo hit the fan, so the real question is whether the new TDC chief exec Sue McGonigal is getting paid more or less than Samuel. How much has her salary been reduced in this Brave New World of deficit reduction? I can't seem to find any info on the TDC website which discloses info regarding McGonigal's current salary, so I can only but speculate for the time being. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Needless to say, please take all this data at face value until somebody with a better eye for accountancy can make sense of it. But if the Telegraph's data is proven correct, it's clear we may not be the luckiest, but we certainly seem a lot luckier than others, so I think we should at least be thankful for that. What do you think?


  1. You need to look at the draft statements of accounts 2010/2011 on TDC web site. Its a word document even though the download link says its a PDF!(I had to save it first then open it in word.)

    page 80, chief exec basic 118,353, car allowance 5000 and the all important pension contribution 16,684, total 140,077.

    maybe if you can find the statement of accounts for last year you will see how the 1.7% cut is arrived at.

  2. Thank you Anon 09:22 but do you have a URL link to the draft statements of accounts 2010/2011? I can't seem to find it on the TDC website to corroborate your statements...

  3. Just go to council and democracy on the site.
    Then in the middle under council performance you will find the statement for 2010/11 and under this you will also find statement for 2009/10 and thats in pdf.
    What is not shown is the chief execs payment as returning officer. Other councils reveal what they pay and it could be as much as £25,000 since we had an election plus referendum.

  4. Thanks Anon, I've found it now. I also found a link to an FOI request which asked how much Samuel's returning officer pay was (inc. a query about severance payments): It was ruled "exempt under sections 40 and 41 of the Freedom of Information Act" and was subsequently unanswered.

  5. on the payment for acting as returning officer didn't peter gilroy former KCC chief return a payment for similar duties in the county election after concerns about the legality?

  6. If this KM news article about Peter Gilroy is what you're referring to, Tony, then yes, I believe you may be correct: You wrote about that on your blog back in July, in fact.