Derry bucks trend in CEO pay

Derry City Council is bucking the trend by hiking the salary of its chief executive officer.

It was announced last month that the post - which is to be vacated by current Town Clerk and Chief Executive Officer Valerie Watts this week - is to be subject to an 11% salary increase.

It appears that Derry City Council is the only local authority in Northern Ireland and the UK to increase the salary for incoming CEO’s in the last six months.

Some CEOs in the UK have been forced to take almost one quarter less than the salary of their predecessor on taking up their posts.

Ms Watts will face a reduced salary for the Aberdeen CEO’s post when she takes up the reigns of the council there later this month. The pay has been deducted by 5% from £141,834 to £134,742, although Ms Watts will still enjoy a significant cash boost as the current Derry City Council CEO salary of around £90,000.

The research carried out by the Local Government Chronicle has reported that in Islington the salary has been cut by 24% rom £210,000 to £160,000, and that a succession of other councils followed suit.

A recent article in the publication states: “Analysis of packages offered for new appointments in the past six months and comparison with the salary of an immediate predecessor shows no council has increased pay for its chief executive.

“While a small number of councils have made no change to a salary, the majority have reduced pay with the reduction ranging from 1% to 24%.”

Ms Watts is due to leave her post this week.

A war of words erupted recently between the outgoing CEO and trade unions amid concerns that Derry City Council employees may face job losses as a result of Ms Watts’ restructuring plan.

NIPSA has called on Derry City Council to tell the public what savings will be made should by downsizing the number of council departments from seven to three.