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Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council high earners pay rise revealed

Craigavon Civic Centre

Four senior council officials in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council received financial packages totalling more than £100,000 in the 2019/2020 financial year, with Council’s Chief Executive receiving a 4.69 per cent pay rise.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has published a council by council breakdown detailing all employees whose remuneration exceeds £100,000 – The Town Hall Rich List 2021.

The rich list shows ABC Council’s Chief Executive, Roger Wilson, is the Council’s top earner, with a total remuneration of £146,388, a rise of 4.69 per cent on his 2019/20 earnings of £139,825.

This is made up of salary of £122,500 and £23,888 in pension contributions, says The TaxPayers’ Alliance.

The Council’s Director of Place, Olga Murtagh, and Director of Position, Sharon O’Gorman, each earned £110,538 a rise of 0.42 per cent on the £110,075 they earned in the 2018/19 tax year.

Both directors received a salary of £92,500 and  £18,038 in pension contributions according to the figures published by The TaxPayers’ Alliance. In comparison with the 2018/19 tax year these director’s received the same salary but the amount added to their pension increased.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s Director of Performance, Sharon McNicholl, earned considerably more in the 2019/20 tax year than she did in the 2018/19 tax year.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance state Ms McNicholl earned £110,538 – 6.16 per cent more than the £104,125 she received in 2018/19.

She received a £92,500 salary and £18,038 in pension contributions according to the figures published by The TaxPayers’ Alliance.

These figures mean Council is sixth of eleven when comparing the number of staff who are paid more than £100,000.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council do not pay any staff more than £100,000 while Mid and East Antrim Borough Council paid eight staff £100,000 or more, although its highest earner, received less than ABC’s Chief Executive, earning £143,450.

The Town Hall Rich List is part of The TaxPayers’ Alliance drive to improve transparency and accountability for local authorities, by letting the public see exactly what senior staff at council offices across the UK are being paid.

All data in the publication is sourced from councils’ statements of accounts which are publicly available, the campaign group says.

In Northern Ireland, the pension figures shown are equivalent to 20 per cent or 19.5 per cent of the employee’s salary, in line with what each Northern Irish local authority contributes to the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee scheme.

A two per cent deficit reduction contribution is also made by employers to the scheme.

A spokesperson for Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said: “The Chief Executive’s salary band for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council was set regionally by the Joint Negotiating Committee.

“The Strategic Directors’ salaries were independently evaluated and are in line with that determined by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services.

“Any cost of living pay awards are also negotiated nationally.”

The TaxPayer’s Alliance grass roots campaign manager, Harry Fone said it is vital local rate payers get value for money.

“With four senior staff receiving over £100,000, it’s vital that ratepayers get bang for their buck,” he said.

“Rate rises have outpaced inflation this year and the devastating effects of the pandemic means many households are struggling to make ends meet.

“Council must be ruthless at increasing efficiency to keep bills as low as possible next year.”

The Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, John O’Connell said: “Taxpayers want to know they are getting value for money from their local authority leadership.

“At the onset of the coronavirus crisis, thousands of town hall officials were taking home huge sums. While councils were plunged into tackling the pandemic, many staff will have more than earned their keep, but households have nevertheless struggled.

“These figures shine a light on the town hall bosses who’ve got it right, and will enable residents to hold those who aren’t delivering value for money to account.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s Town Hall Rich List 2021 can be found at https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/town_hall_rich_list_2021

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