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Killian to take a pay cut

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Essex CC chief executive Joanna Killian has agreed to take a pay cut - but it is less than the 10% demanded by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Essex leader Peter Martin (Con) announced to the council that Ms Killian, joint chief executive of Essex and Brentwood LBC, had agreed that her £237,000 salary should be reduced by 5% as the council prepares to cut spending in next year’s budget.

The decision comes after Mr Pickles singled Ms Killian, left, out as he said chief executives who earn over £200,000 should take a 10% cut while those earning more than £150,000 should take a 5% cut.

He told Essex’s Gazette newspaper last month: “I think Joanna Killian should take a 10% cut in her salary,” he added. “I’m expecting her to lead by example.”

A 5% cut in Ms Killian’s basic salary would reduce it to £225,150 with her £772 expenses allowance and £47,380 pension contribution bringing her total annual pay to £273,302.

Essex CC Labour leader Julie Young welcomed Ms Killian’s pay cut but questioned why it was not more. “I’m sure local people would like to know why Eric Pickles’s own local council hasn’t taken his advice on board and cut her salary by 10%,” she said.

A spokeswoman said Ms Killian’s 5% salary cut “was what they felt was appropriate” but might be reviewed by the independent panel on senior pay that Essex is to establish ahead of budget setting.

In a written statement, Mr Martin said: “I agree with the secretary of state that the public sector needs to show pay restraint. I also agree with Lord Hutton, chair of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission, whose report reiterates that the public sector performs vital functions and that “there is therefore a compelling public policy objective in being able to recruit and retain the best possible people for these crucially important jobs.”

Earlier this month, Cornwall Council chief executive Kevin Lavery announced that he would also take a 5% pay cut from January, reducing his salary to £190,000.

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