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New Brighton and Hove Council chief's £150,000 salary
A new council chief has been appointed – on a six-figure salary which exceeds the Prime Minister’s annual pay cheque.
The local authority revealed she will earn £150,000 – less than the £161,500 paid to her predecessor John Barradell but more than the £142,500 paid to Prime Minister David Cameron.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “I’m extremely excited by Penny’s appointment and I’m delighted there was unanimous cross-party agreement.
“She will be a welcome addition to the senior management team at the council.”
When asked about the reduced salary, Coun Kitcat said it was “absolutely a conscious decision”.
He added: “We’re seeking to deliver on our manifesto commitment to cut the gap between the highest and lowest paid at the council.”
The appointment was made after a controversial recruitment process that cost the local authority £30,000 and sparked disagreements between senior councillors over the shortlist of four candidates.
Troubleshooter Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald said: “The panel, which included two Conservative members, unanimously agreed the appointment.”
Labour group leader Gill Mitchell said: “We welcome the appointment and look forward to working with Penny when she takes up her new post.”
Ms Thompson was the head of the General Care Social Council, which was abolished by the Government and closed in September. After training as a social worker, Ms Thompson was credited with turning around the fortunes of Sheffield City Council’s social services team and leading it out of special measures.
She then became chief executive of the London Borough of Hackney, earning a basic salary of £164,839.
She retired from the job in 2008 with a six-figure severance package, becoming a consultant to local authorities, quangos and the NHS.
This included becoming a troubleshooter at NHS Haringey in the wake of the Baby Peter case.
Ms Thompson was made a CBE for services to social care in 2012.
She will succeed Mr Barradell, who has taken up a similar role at the City of London Corporation.
A council spokeswoman said Ms Thompson will officially start her job on December 1 but said there would be a short handover period from temporary chief executive Catherine Vaughan.
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