New Northumberland Council boss set to take home salary of nearly £200,000

Dr Helen Paterson will take home a salary of £199,000. Credit: Local Democracy Reporting Service

The incoming chief executive for Northumberland County Council is set to take home a salary of almost £200,000.

Dr Helen Paterson was named last week as the recommended appointment to take over the role from her predecessor, Daljit Lally, who left during a dispute over expenses.

She will be offered a £199,000 annual pay packet – as well as an extra £12,145 for every election held in which she acts as the council’s returning officer.

Georgina Hill, an independent councillor for Berwick East said the £199,000 rate was “an eye-wateringly high salary."

She added: “Some would say that if the new chief executive manages to turn the council around then it would be cheap at the price.

"However, neither myself nor anyone else from the Independent Group were involved in the interview or selection process so it is currently difficult to do any value for money or other meaningful assessments of the merits of the appointment or the justification for such a large salary.”

The council said that Dr Paterson’s proposed pay was unanimously agreed by a cross-party group of councillors in an "open and transparent" way.

Earlier this year, the Town Hall Rich List 2022 by the TaxPayer’s Alliance revealed that Northumberland County Council was paying 20 top-earning employees more than £100,000 a year – the highest of any council in the North East.

Those figures prompted council leader Glen Sanderson to announce he was looking to save “at least £1m” from staff wages – after claiming in April that the county had previously had to offer higher pay because of its remoteness but was now “not as isolated as it was”.

Dr Paterson, who was previously director of children’s services in Sunderland, is due to be appointed to the role subject to approval at a full council meeting on Wednesday 2 November, with her appointment and salary also due to be discussed at the authority’s staff and appointments committee that morning.

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