Former East Cambs councillor Tom Hunt bags himself a pay rise - and a bigger role - as chief of staff to Mayor James Palmer

Tom Hunt, right, and a former East Cambs councillor, is now political adviser and chief of staff to

Tom Hunt, right, and a former East Cambs councillor, is now political adviser and chief of staff to Mayor James Palmer (left). Tom also gets a pay rise - Credit: Archant

Within weeks of his appointment as the £35,000 political assistant to Mayor James Palmer, the former East Cambs councillor Tom Hunt has been promoted to chief of staff – with a hefty pay rise.

Mr Hunt’s new role will be on a salary scale from £41,025 to £44,765 a year – a rise of at least 17 per cent on his previous salary.

His appointment will be relayed to members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority next Wednesday.

The board will be told his new salary was set “following evaluation of the responsibilities of the role. The post holder will be employed on a National Joint Council contract of employment and will receive pay and benefits for example pension contributions and holiday entitlement”.

The report says Mr Hunt took up the political assistant role on July 26 but “subsequent to this appointment the mayor increased the level of responsibility including the requirement to assist the mayor in his dealings with central Government. “This is in common with the practice being adopted by other mayoral combined authorities, elected mayors of local authorities and follows the structure of the London mayoral office”.

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Board members will be told that Mr Hunt’s role” is akin to a chief of staff role” and his post is therefore to become mayoral adviser and chief of staff.

“Similar to a political advisor, the mayoral advisor and chief of staff works exclusively to the direction of the mayor,” says the report.

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“Although this role sits within the management framework of the combined authority, the post-holder does not represent the combined authority. The mayoral advisor and chief of staff forms part of the mayor’s office and is directed day to day by the mayor.

“The post holder may issue press releases and media briefings but does so on a clear understanding that this is on behalf of the mayor.”

Minutes of the authority meeting on September 4 reports that proposals for staffing the mayor’s office were no different to other combined authorities but considerably less compared to the Mayor of London.

Mayor Palmer had stressed the importance of a chief of staff and personal assistant to enable him to spend fulfilling his responsibilities including more time talking to leaders.

“The combined authority was a living and breathing organism which had to be adaptive and reactive,” it was reported. “It was therefore important to appoint the right people when a decision was required.”

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