Leader defends six-figure pay for new chief executive

Retiring: Mark Culllinan

Retiring: Mark Culllinan

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THE leader of a Lancashire council has defended plans to continue to pay a new chief executive £107,000 per year.

Lancaster City Counci’s current chief executive Mark Cullinan is due to stand down in June 2016, and councillors discussed the terms and conditions for the role earlier this month.

The salary agreed is in line with that of chief executive pay at other district councils in Lancashire

Coun Eileen Blamire

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of the council, said: “At this challenging time of Tory Government cuts it’s more important than ever that we get the right chief executive in place.

“The salary agreed is in line with that of chief executive pay at other district councils in Lancashire – indeed it is lower than some, especially in relation to the size of our district.

“There’s a saying ‘you get what you pay for’ and we want to ensure we can attract a high-calibre chief executive with the right experience and skills to help us steer the council through these difficult times.”

The chief executive heads a team of officers.

Mr Cullinan announced his retirement in June.

He has been the city council’s chief executive since 2000.

The council had looked at different options - to retain the post, share a chief executive with another local authority, or operate without one altogether.

The council said the aim is to submit a recommendation to full council by the end of March 2016, with a July 1 start date for the new chief executive.

At a council meeting on December 16, Coun Caroline Jackson proposed that the new chief executive be paid £95,000 in the first year, rising by five annual increments to £107,000, subject to successful performance against targets set each year.

This was defeated after a vote, with councillors instead agreeing the £107,000 salary, 34 votes to 18.