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Kent County Council's top earners could be named

by political editor Paul Francis

Hundreds of council middle managers earning more than £58,000 are to be named under the latest government plan to enhance public sector transparency.

The move is likely to affect at least 350 managers at Kent County Council and several hundred more who work for Kent’s other district and borough councils.

The initiative is the latest step by the government to improve accountability and openness in local government but may well be resisted by some authorities.

Under the government’s scheme, workers earning more than £58,200 – equivalent to the lowest senior civil service pay band - will need to be disclosed.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said the move would give the public a full picture of each council’s management composition.

"The taxpayer has a right to look under the bonnet of their Town Hall and see what decisions are being made on their behalf and where their money is being spent.

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"Today I’m publishing a new code that will help decipher the Town Hall maze of middle management, bringing more public information to light."

He added: "Transparency must be the underlying principal behind everything councils do.

"Every aspect of council business should be open to public scrutiny including senior pay, councillor expenses, local services and voluntary sector funding.

"This can help save money in tough times, protecting the frontline by cutting waste and unnecessary costs," the minister said.

Councils are now required to disclose the pay and perks of their most senior staff earning more than £150,000 and now must publish monthly statements detailing all invoices of more than £500.

According to KCC’s latest statement of accounts published for 2009-10, there are 128 managers earning between £55,000 and £60,000; 99 earning between £60,000 and £65,000; 41 earning between £65,000 and £70,000 and 23 earning between £70,000 and £75,000.

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What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

A further 62 are earning between £75,000 and £150,000.

But Cllr John Simmonds (Con) KCC cabinet member for finance, said he was uneasy about identifying individual names.

"I think it would be enough just to say the numbers of people earning above that figure.

"I don’t have a problem with that. It is almost an invasion of an individual’s privacy."

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