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Top earner at Croydon Council on £242k

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A TOP council boss on a temporary contract is being paid the equivalent of £242,666 a year, records show.

Paul Spooner, the interim executive director of planning and environment at Croydon Council, joined in February 18 and was paid £28,000 between then and when the accounts were audited on March 31.

Mr Spooner's salary is around 25 per cent more pro-rata than the next-best paid officer, Nathan Elvery. When asked about this a spokesman said: "We do not feel we need to explain the decision."

In total, 15 other council employees are being paid more than £100,000, down from 21 the year before.

Mr Elvery, who took up the post of interim chief executive in March, was paid £191,051 in 2012/13 – up from £189,214 the year before when he was executive director of corporate resources and customer services.

Jon Rouse, the council's chief executive who left on March 10 this year was paid £198,260.

Paul Greenhalgh, the executive director of children, families and learning was paid £169,107, the same as the year before while Hannah Miller, the deputy chief executive and executive director of adult services, health and housing was paid £153,583 for 2012/13, down from £189,214.

A council spokesman said: "The reduction in the number of people taking home over £100,000 is the result of a combination of the deletion of two senior posts – the director of Step Change Croydon and one head teacher – as well as people changing jobs during the year and the removal of chief officer allowances for new appointments."

Laurie Pocock, secretary of the Croydon branch of the union Unison, told the Advertiser: "The problem we're seeing here is the council are paying people for specific projects along market rates.

"This means people like Spooner can demand these types of salaries which restricts the council's ability to increase pay for everyone else.

"It's bad for society because the people at the top get richer and everyone else is hit by stalled salaries and rising living costs. It is a huge sum of money that needs justification and I think it would be disingenuous of the council not to offer one."

Mr Spooner has been put in charge of the borough's five-year regeneration plan which includes the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre and Fairfield Halls and moving the council offices. He came from the Homes and Communities Agency – a Government body which provides investment for affordable and social housing.

In July, he unveiled a plan to build 9,500 new homes in Croydon in the next five years.

Top earner at Croydon Council on £242k


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