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OFFICERS SLATE 'LUDICROUS' FEES

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Chief executives angry at the 'ludicrous' fees they got as returning officers in today's European Parliament electi...
Chief executives angry at the 'ludicrous' fees they got as returning officers in today's European Parliament elections are writing a letter of protest to the Home Office.

Philip Thomas, Tandridge DC chief executive and spokesman for the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives, said those acting as regional returning officers had massive responsibilities which required full-time attention in the period building up to the election.

Yet the basic fee was only£2,500. The Home Office had agreed around an extra£2,000 but only as a one-off because it was a new job, he said.

'They [returning officers] have been running around like scalded rabbits for months,' Mr Thomas said. 'We've been dealing with the Home Office for months and they didn't believe us about the tremendous additional responsibilities' (LGC, 12 March).

As an example, Barnet LBC chief executive Max Caller, as the returning officer for the London region, had to oversee the election management in every London borough.

Mr Thomas said the poor pay for presiding officers and poll clerks - around£80 for a 15-hour day - meant it was difficult to recruit people. One south-east area was still seven officers short in the week before the election. But the fee for local returning officers -£1,600 - was appropriate for the first time, he said.

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