I'm worth it, insists chief of council as he defends salary
THE chief executive of Derbyshire County Council has defended his salary after the Government said authorities should consider axing the role to save money.
Nick Hodgson earns £152,000 a year, which he claims ranks him among the lowest-paid county council chief executives.
Two years ago, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles called on chief executives on more than £150,000 to cut their pay by 5%.
He said those on more than £200,000 should cut their pay by 10%.
In recent weeks, the Tory minister went further and said councils should consider axing the posts altogether to help offset budget cuts.
Amber Valley Borough Council has since got rid of its chief executive, Peter Carney, who had worked for the authority for 27 years and earned over £100,000 a year.
But county council leader Andrew Lewer said there were "no plans" to axe Mr Hodgson's job.
Mr Hodgson, who was appointed chief executive at Derbyshire County Council in 1997 and has not had a pay rise in five years, said he was "not thinking of taking a pay cut".
He added: "I think I do a vital job here. I help manage a £500 million organisation that provides numerous services that are fairly well regarded by local people.
"If I was doing the same role in the private sector, I would perhaps be paid more.
"I used to be the lowest-paid county council chief executive in the country. I'm not sure where I'm ranked now but I won't be far off the bottom.
"I'm certainly not earning £200k to £220k like some. Yes, I've got a damn good salary but I think I earn it."
Mr Hodgson added that he had withdrawn from the council's pension scheme, saving the authority £18,000 a year.
Councillor Lewer, whose Tory group took charge at Matlock's County Hall in 2009, said he wanted to keep Mr Hodgson in his post.
Mr Lewer said: "What may be workable in a smaller council may not be in a larger unitary or county council.
"We have no plans to abolish the position of chief executive and this view is strengthened by having, in Nick Hodgson, such a capable and respected individual in the post."
Frank McArdle, chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council, earns £133,667 a year.
He said: "It is a matter for my employers to decide whether they wish for me to take a pay cut."
Derby City Council chief executive Adam Wilkinson has a salary of about £160,000 and Erewash Borough Council chief Jeremy Jaroszek was given a £100,000 salary when he took the role in 2006. Both were unavailable for comment.