Published: 13:53, 29 April 2009
Kent County Council's chief executive "sold" annual leave he had not taken for almost £12,000 last year, it has emerged.
Peter Gilroy, who is among the highest paid chief executives in the country, was able to claim £11,916 in allowances under an arrangement available to KCC staff that permits them to take money for holiday entitlement they have not taken.
It has also been revealed Mr Gilroy's earnings in 2007-2008 included £31,065 in performance-related pay, on top of his fixed salary of £207,100. The previous year he earned £28,420 in performance-related pay, in addition to his salary of £202,958.
The information, presented to county councillors on KCC’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday, comes after the publication of a survey by the Taxpayers’ Alliance that revealed the number of people earning more than £100,000 at KCC had doubled in a year.
Cllr Clive Hart (Lab) said: "I think it is incredible...that is quite an unusual occurrence in this council. It is an incredible figure and more than some people I represent earn in a year. Is it necessary for this to be allowed at this level?"
Personnel chiefs said all KCC employees were entitled to use the arrangements under KCC's terms and conditions.
Amanda Beer, KCC director of personnel, told the meeting: "The ability to sell annual leave is in the Kent Scheme terms of employment and applies to all members of staff.
"The chief executive did not take his leave entitlement over a number of years and made the decision to sell his annual leave."
Meanwhile, KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter (Con) made a robust defence of the high salaries paid to the authority's most senior officers, saying it was nothing to be ashamed of.
He told the meeting: "We have to recruit into a very competitive market for quality senior staff.
"That market and how it reacts to salary bands and levels will move. I suspect there will be general pressure and tightening of the public purse in many directions and the trend in senior officers’ salaries may plateau and may come down."
The KM Group revealed in February how KCC's senior officers were paid £102,000 in bonuses in 2008.
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