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Council bosses refuse to tell how much they earn

PUBLISHED: 17:18 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:05 12 August 2010

COUNCIL bosses have been accused of breaking the law for refusing to admit how much of taxpayers money they earn. Bromley council refused to

COUNCIL bosses have been accused of breaking the law for refusing to admit how much of taxpayers' money they earn.

Bromley council refused to disclose the salaries of the highest earning officers despite being requested to under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Some 414 British councils handed the information to the Tax Payers' Alliance (TPA) but Bromley council refused to follow suit.

In the last year, the council has had 14 officers earning more than £100,000 per annum but they refused to reveal their names, job titles and specific amounts.

TPA policy analyst Maria Fort said: "Bromley's treatment of taxpayers and secretive behaviour is frankly shameful.

"The vast majority of councils provided complete information responses in a timely manner, but Bromley seem to think that they are somehow exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, which they are not.

"The council have ignored our requests and even an internal review we filed with them.

"This kind of secrecy is unacceptable and illegal - taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent, and if Bromley are not willing to obey the law then we will pursue this case to the relevant authorities to force them to do so."

A spokesperson from the Campaign for Freedom of Information said: "We think the pay of the most senior executives in a public authority should normally be disclosed, particularly when it reaches extremely high levels.

"The Information Commissioner's Office has made it clear that senior officials must expect a greater degree of scrutiny than junior ones, particularly where public money is involved."

A spokesperson for Bromley council refused to comment on the allegations of them breaking the law but said: "Like a number of other local authorities, the council provided a partial response to the TPA's FOI request initially.

"Data protection issues require us to consult with employees, past and present in this case, before releasing information of a personal and sensitive nature.

"We referred the TPA to our publicly available annual statement of accounts which clearly lists the number of senior officers earning in excess of £100k, by salary band. Names and positions of serving senior officers are already published on our website.

"In line with previous years, it is our intention to provide further information in due course."

The requests by the TPA revealed that in Bexley, the director of children's and young people's services Deborah Absalom earned £172,000 last year including a bonus of £14,000.

The assistant director of highways and amenities Michael Frizoni earned £110,000 including a £8,000 bonus.

In Greenwich, chief executive Mary Ney earned £182,819 last year but they did not provide any bonus details.

Both Bexley and Greenwich councils refused to comment on the salaries.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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