Combined authority explains why new joint chief executives John Hill and Kim Sawyer will each be paid over £160,000 a year if board members agree

New joint chief executives - subject to board approval - for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combine

New joint chief executives - subject to board approval - for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Both John Hill and Kim Sawyer will each earn over £160,000 a year. Picture:ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

If councillors agree, the new joint chief executives of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) will each be paid over £160,000 a year.

CAPCA revealed today that Mr Hill, who will share his time between East Cambridgeshire District Council where he remains chief executive, will earn the most at an annual salary of £165,336.

His joint chief executive Kim Sawyer will be paid £161,556 - who retains the role of director, corporate services, with her new responsibilities working alongside Mr Hill.

It was also revealed last night that Mayor James Palmer will not be taking the extra £5,000 a year recommended by an independent remuneration panel that would have boosted his annual allowance to £80,000.

He tweeted that he had read the panel's report but "my personal view is that the recommendations should take effect only after the next mayoral election.

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"I will not be accepting any increase in the mayoral allowance this term".

On the salary payments to the joint chief executives, CAPCA has responded to a series of questions I put to them following the proposal - to be ratified next week - which said they were planning to abandon the hunt for a new chief executive despite more than 20 people being scrutinised for the post.

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CAPCA says it will save £62,000 a year and a spokesman said that the new salary arrangements for both interim officers to step up to the jobs on a more permanent basis had been thoroughly costed.

"Fifty per cent of Kim and John's salaries would be paid at the level of the chief executive role for the combined authority," said the statement.

"In the case of Kim, the remaining 50 per cent would be paid at the level of the role of director, corporate services.

"In the case of John, the remaining 50 per cent of his salary would be paid at the level of his East Cambridgeshire District Council chief executive position.

"The combined authority would pay East Cambridgeshire District Council for the services of John Hill."

The spokesman added: "Finally, under the staffing structure, one of the lawyer posts would need to change to cover the monitoring office role, which would come with additional cost. Once this has been allowed for, the total saving is £62,000."

CAPCA was also asked to confirm how many, if any, East Cambs Council staff remains on secondment, albeit part time.

"Two members of staff are on secondment - John Hill as joint interim chief executive and Emma Grima, whose secondment is due to conclude at the end of July," said the spokesman.

"Tracy Cooper was previously seconded as deputy monitoring officer, but this concluded at the end of March."

The independent panel chosen to look at the mayor's allowance came from East Cambridgeshire as this, says a report to CAPCA board members, and was the only local council that had a readily available panel.

Chaired by Richard Tyler, a retired accountant, the panel undertook their review from February to April, and recommended the increase for Mayor Palmer as they felt it represented "a reasonable balance between the public service element of the role and the allowances paid for other comparable public sector positions".

They also want CAPCA to ask the Government to allow for the mayoralty role to be regarded as a fixed-term contract employment that is pensionable.

The panel also invited constituent councils to consider payment of allowances to members as there is a statutory prohibition preventing CAPCA to pay such allowances.

CAPCA had earlier said they were keen to correct suggestions made on social media that a schedule of payments made to employment agency Green Park Ltd totalling £94,050 pertained entirely to fees for the recruitment process for a new permanent chief executive of the authority.

'In fact, of the £94,050, £14,250 was payable to Green Park Ltd relating to the recruitment process for a new chief executive. The remaining balance relates to fees due for the services of the interim monitoring officer of the Combined Authority," said the statement.

CAPCA was questioned further as to whether it also included the recruitment process for director of transport and director of finance for the combined authority?

"No, Green Park was not involved in the recruitment to these roles," said the statement.

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