THE council has denied a report that claims there are more than 20 officers earning salaries in excess of £100,000.
The Taxpayers Alliance has released data from local authorities across the UK, which places Croydon 11th in the list of councils with the highest number of high-paid officers.
The most recent data from the council available to the public is for April 2011 to March 12, when 21 members of staff were paid between £100,000 and £221,180. Biggest earners were Jon Rouse – the former chief executive who left in March – on £221,180 (including allowances); Hannah Miller, director of adult services, health and housing, on £189,214 and Nathan Elvery, executive director of corporate resources and customer services on £189,214.
However, town hall bosses say this has been slashed to 14 members, though the details of which salaries have been cut, which jobs have been axed and who is now being paid under £1000,000 will not be released until next month.
A spokesman said: "The council has made savings of more than £60 million in the past three years by cutting management and back office costs by more than 25 per cent. Last year alone it reduced the annual pay bill by more than £7 million and senior managers on the top pay bands decreased by a third, to 14. The council plans to make further efficiency savings of at least 20 per cent over the next four years."
According to the council, the posts of the seven staff members paid more than £100,000 were deleted as part of the senior management restructure, which saved the council £1.3 million per year.
The spokesman defended the remaining 14 members, saying: "Pay levels at the top of local government represent a very small percentage of total pay which reflects the need to attract talent to run vital services and multimillion-pound budgets."
Opponents of Croydon Council cuts to services do not agree the staff represent value for money.
Robert Gibson, who has fought to safeguard the future of Upper Norwood Library, said: "Even with fewer high paid staff, it would be useful if Croydon could demonstrate they are providing an excellent service with such high salaries. Sadly, this doesn't seem the case and they are cutting swathes of low level staff, which means services like the libraries are suffering."
However, Councillor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for corporate and voluntary services, argued: "Everyone knows finances are tight and we are having to look at the best way to reduce costs.
"We've looked at individual services and decided they can be delivered differently – either by restructuring management or cutting a number of top level managers and contracting out some services.
The opposition Labour leader, Tony Newman, said he had argued for a £150,000 cap on the chief executive's salary at the budget meeting in March.
"If you cap that, you will get a more realistic salary scale all the way down," he said.