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Pickles slams chiefs' election fees

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Eric Pickles has criticised the practice of paying council chief executives a fee for their role as returning officers in elections.

Speaking during communities & local government questions yesterday (5 September), the communities secretary said he thought it “common sense” that chief executives who double as returning officers during elections should not receive an additional fee.

He said: “I have not come across many chief executives who do the count and organise the postal votes; that is often done by the deputy returning officer.

“I know that a number of returning officers ensure that the extra money is shared among staff. I think that that is the right course, but if chief executives are pocketing that money, they should feel ashamed.”

However, Mr Pickles added that the issue of returning officers’ fees was a matter for the Ministry of Justice

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