THE chief executive of Surrey County Council is set to receive a bonus of Â£100,000.
David McNulty will have to wait five years for the payout and will have to work pretty hard to prove he’s worth it, but the move has still come under fire in such austere times.Council leader David Hodge has defended his decision to agree to the six-figure payment to Mr McNulty â€“ whose total pay in 2012 including allowances and pension contributions totalled Â£245,133 â€“ saying it will be linked to very strict performance criteria.
In a statement Cllr Hodge said: “Surrey’s chief exec manages a budget of Â£1.8 billion and 26,000 staff. Due to the scale of this task, there are few people who are able to successfully handle this while also guiding the organisation as it uncovered savings of Â£280 million, launched the biggest school building programme in the county’s history, secured a new roads contract that has saved millions of pounds while also ensuring 100 miles of the county’s roads are completely replaced, as well as signing a deal that will give nearly everyone in Surrey superfast broadband speeds.”
The council leader also claimed Mr McNulty is on one of the lowest levels of chief executive pay, despite figures in 2011 showing he was the sixth highest paid boss in the country.
The payout has been endorsed by the pay committee at County Hall, though it still needs to be signed off by the Cabinet.
Former leader of the council Andrew Povey has questioned the move.
“I think given the current climate in the country about salaries and bonuses I would have thought it’s not the right thing to be doing at this point in time,” he said. “I don’t mean any disrespect to the chief executive, he’s done a very good job, but the size of the bonus and the fact it was done secretly [is wrong]. One of the main things when I was leader was transparency so I think it’s out of line.”
Earlier in the week Mr Povey tweeted about the decision asking if the current council leader had “gone mad” for approving what he called a “secret Â£100,000 bonus”.
A number of councillors who the Mirror contacted about the bonus plan were unaware talks had even taken place.
Lib Dem Caterham Hill councillor John Orrick said he was “flabbergasted”, adding: “It’s not as if he [David McNulty] isn’t on a decent salary.”
Lib Dem leader of the opposition Hazel Watson, who sits on the People, Performance and Development Committee, which decides pay issues, refused to comment.
As chief executive, Mr McNulty is tasked with being the principal advisor to the council, providing leadership to elected members in the delivery of the council’s corporate and budget plans and acting as head of the paid service.
The council would not provide details of the “very strict criteria” on which the bonus would be paid.
Surrey County Council defends plan to give its chief executive a Â£100,000 bonus