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Councillors in Kent are cashing in on multi-authority roles

By Canterbury Times  |  Posted: September 10, 2012

DOUBLE EARNERS: David Hirst and Jean Law

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SCORES of Kent county councillors are raking in thousands of pounds in extra taxpayers' cash thanks to roles on other public bodies.

Fifty-two of Kent's 84 county councillors – 62 per cent – are also paid from the public purse for sitting on other authorities such as councils or emergency service scrutiny bodies.

Topping the public servant rich list is cabinet member for communities Mike Hill, who pocketed £59,409 last year.

As well as the £40,175 he took home for his duties as a councillor and cabinet member, Mr Hill earned an additional £19,234 for his role at the Kent Police Authority.

He was one of two members who earned more than his boss, council leader Paul Carter.

He took home £54,914 and was in the minority of councillors who was a member of just one authority.

Canterbury members John Simmonds and Martin Vye, Whitstable representative Mark Dance and Alan Marsh, who represents Herne and Sturry, are also only members of Kent County Council.

All apart from Martin Vye are cabinet members and claimed £40,175 last year.

Cllr Vye took home £17,117. Andrew Bowles, who is also leader of Swale Borough Council only claimed from Kent County Council, taking home £25,437.

Jean Law, who represents Herne Bay and is a Whitstable councillor on Canterbury City Council, claimed £30,194 from both authorities. Fellow Herne Bay representative David Hirst, who also sits on Canterbury City Council, collected £27,595 from the councils and for his role on the Kent Fire Authority.

Historically the role of a councillor has been a voluntary one, with members merely compensated for the time they put in.

But The TaxPayers' Alliance campaign group fighting for lower taxes, says the big pay packets call this arrangement into question.

Spokesman John O'Connell said: "Those serving on more than one council or authority can pick up sizeable allowances that are more akin to high earnings.

"Any payments are supposed to compensate them for incidental expenses incurred outside their everyday job."

While figures show the county council paid out £954,000 in allowances to members in the last financial year, the councillors amassed an additional £388,000 by belonging to other public organisations.

As well as being elected to district and borough councils across Kent, the soon-to-be-scrapped Kent Police Authority provided a source of income for seven county councillors, including Faversham's Tom Gates. He claimed a total of £22,039 for both positions.

Twenty members pocketed £1,389 for sitting on Kent Fire and Rescue Service Authority, half of whom received up to £7,272 in extra "special responsibility allowances."

Among them were Mike Harrison, who represents Whitstable, and Michael Northey, who represents Canterbury. Neither received the special allowances, and Cllr Harrison claimed a total of £21, 561, while Cllr Northey took home £14,194.

In some cases councillors boosted their income by being members of as many as three organisations.

The county council is cutting services in a bid to save £340 million by 2015.

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  • kenwarnham  |  September 11 2012, 12:36PM

    I see no Adult care cuts on the Councillors who some earn over £60k a year {part-part time} sitting on these committees, and other committees who decide that "you" are no longer eligible, or we cannot afford the service anymore. How much is spent by KCC on Asylum seekers in this county? Why is this enormous cost not dispersed throughout the UK? KCC lost Millions in Icelandic Banks. Hundreds of Thousands of pounds paid to Chief Executives who leave after a short term, with golden goodbyes. Sacking and making redundant social service staff (for young children) then golden hellos months later to have them come back to work. Two thirds of KCC Councillors on other paid committees or District Councils. It is proposed to have up to 18 Councillors to oversee the PCC in Kent (the PCC is one person) why 18 to oversee him/her?...more money! On top of that Councillors have expenses, food sustenance, drinks including alcohol, some private limousines, and fact finding tours abroad…who's up for election?

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  • kenwarnham  |  September 11 2012, 9:12AM

    And this is news?