March 12 2014 Latest news:
by Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Redbridge’s top council officer is working part-time on half his former salary, one of the largest in the country, but apparently “fulfilling the same duties”.
Chief executive Roger Hampson has been in the post for 14 years and made a “town hall rich list” last year with his annual pay packet of £223,478.
At the time, Redbridge Council insisted the huge salary was justified for his work but now claims he is doing the same job part-time.
At his request, Mr Hampson, 63, took “flexible retirement” in January to “pursue other academic and voluntary interests”.
He started taking his £63,204 annual pension and halved his basic salary to £90,771.
Robert Oxley, campaign director at the Taxpayers’ Alliance called the arrangement “bizarre”.
He added: “It calls into question what Mr Hampson was being paid to do for so much taxpayers’ money in the first place.
“Council chiefs should not be double dipping claiming their pension while still being paid by taxpayers to work.”
A council spokesman said there was “no need for deputising arrangements” or extra staff.
He added: “Mr Hampson continues to have oversight of all the major issues, and retains all his responsibilities.
“There is no implication that he will work only half the time, or carry only half the workload.”
Cllr Keith Prince, leader of the council, said the new arrangements were saving £144,000 a year in salary, national insurance and pension contributions.
He added: “Mr Hampson indicated he may wish to retire around 2018 and by then local government will look completely different.
“Who knows – we might go for a joint appointment like other councils or we might not even have a chief executive.”
Labour group leader Cllr Jas Athwal said he would be monitoring the situation to check it is working and “leave no stone unturned” looking at cost-cutting measures.
The chief executive’s pay scale is set by an all-party committee of councillors.
Mr Hampson chose not to claim bonuses, expenses for travelling and other costs or to join the private healthcare scheme offered.
He has worked in local government since 1986 and was previously a research academic specialising in economics.