Buckinghamshire Council has revealed the wages of its highest paid staff, with 29 earning above £100,000 in the last year.

Five of the fat cats were on even more than Rishi Sunak’s combined salary of £167,391 as Prime Minister and MP during this period.

Topping the council’s rich list in 2023/2024 was Rachael Shimmin, the chief executive officer, whose salary was in the £240,000 to £244,999 band.

The council chief, 54, was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honours in 2014 while she was still a corporate director at Durham County Council.

The second highest Bucks Council earner was deputy chief executive and monitoring officer, Sarah Ashmead, on £180,000.

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Meanwhile, the salaries of corporate directors Sarah Murphy-Brookman (resources), Richard Barker (communities) and John Macilwraith (children’s services) were all at least £170,000.

After them, the corporate directors of adults and health, Craig Mcardle and planning, Stephen Bambrick, earned at least £160,000 and £150,000 respectively.

Another high earner was the council’s section 151 officer David Skinner, the council’s service director of finance, whose salary was at least £135,000.

The huge sums paid out to the council’s senior leaders came in the same year as the GMB union demanded a pay increase for Bucks Council office workers and school support staff struggling to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, Bucks residents were hit with an overall council tax hike of the maximum 4.99 per cent this year as the unitary authority struggled to balance its latest budget to 2027.

A source at the council claimed that it should consider spending some of the cash paid to its top earners on the county’s roads.

They told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “You could fix an awful lot of potholes for that. The council is looking to make cuts so maybe it needs to start by looking at the pay of its chief executives.

“It is frustrating. It is a lot of money. I think some people have taken pay cuts. It is a lot of money. [Rachael] was one of the top in the country.”

However, John Chilver, the council’s cabinet member for resources defended the eyewatering sums paid out to senior staff.

The councillor claimed the unitary authority has saved £1.75 million in senior staffing costs since 2020, including by moving from four chief executives to one.

He said: “We are one of the largest unitary authorities in the country and the salaries of our senior staff, including that of the Chief Executive, reflect the significant responsibility that these roles entail.

“The management of the council is responsible for an annual gross budget of more than £1bn, bigger than many FTSE 100 companies.”

Cllr Chilver added that the council continues to streamline its services and was ‘cutting significant chunks of spend from our budgets across the board to balance the books’.

He said: “In a large public service organisation like ours, our staff are our most important resource.

“We offer competitive salaries at all levels of our organisation that are directly comparable to similar councils, always prioritising providing value for money for our residents.”