Great Yarmouth Borough Council to pay new chief executive £995 a day

The Town Hall in Great Yarmouth.
May 2014.

Picture: James Bass The Town Hall in Great Yarmouth. May 2014. Picture: James Bass

Friday, July 25, 2014
6:00 AM

The new interim chief executive of Great Yarmouth Borough Council is to be paid £200,000 a year.

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Gordon Mitchell is reommended to be new chief executive of Great Yarmouth Borough CouncilGordon Mitchell is reommended to be new chief executive of Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Gordon Mitchell’s wage of £995 a day was last night described as “obscene” and “hard to justify” as councillors met to appoint a new Town Hall boss following the departure of Jane Ratcliffe, who has stepped down as she is seriously ill with cancer.

Mr Mitchell, whose appointment was recommended by cabinet, was described by leader Trevor Wainwright as an expert with specialist knowledge in transformation.

He has been brought in to guide the borough council as it looks to plug a £4.7m funding gap over the next four years - or, as Councillor Lee Sutton put it, to “wield the axe”.

Mr Sutton said: “I’m opposing the appointment not on the calibre of the candidate but on the terms of which the decision to appoint an interim chief was made. To pay £950 a day plus VAT, which I understand is £200,000 a year, would break the council’s pay policy. It is obscene. How can I justify this to people in my ward of low incomes, using food banks.”

Who is the new interim chief executive?

Gordon Mitchell has been chief executive at four other authorities, including Nottingham City Council and Bracknell Forest Borough Council and comes to Yarmouth from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where he has been vice chair and senior independent director.

He wil be in post at Great Yarmouth Borough Council for 12 months and replaces Laura McGillivray, CEO for Norwich City Council who covered the chief executive’s duties part-time after permanent chief Jane Ratcliffe was forced to step down to due serious illness.

Mr Mitchell has also worked as chief executive for Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council in Halifax and also runs Starburst Consulting Ltd, his own company based in Nottingham.

In 2011, he spoke about the pressure on local councils to take up shared management - a sore point in Yarmouth after a shared leadership deal with Breckland and South Holland councils fell through when the Conservatives lost power in 2012.

The borough council’s pay policy, which is not legally binding, advises the council that top wages should be no more than eight times the lowest.

Mr Mitchell’s wage will be about 14 times that, said Mr Sutton.

In a recorded vote, four councillors opposed Mr Mitchell’s appointment, four abstained and 26 agreed.

His wage will be part-funded through the efficiency savings grant provided by coalition to help those councils facing significant central government cuts.

Graham Plant, leader of the Conservative group in Yarmouth, said: “It does leave a bad taste in the mouth, I don’t deny that. But there will be an even worse taste in our mouths if we can’t manage our own business.”

Trevor Wainwright and other senior councillors said the appointment of Mr Mitchell was “vital” to ensuring the borough council can balance its books.

See Friday’s Great Yarmouth Mercury for more on this story.

20 comments

  • It is a shame that there are so many sad, envious people on this site that object to employing people at the market rate for the job. The only questions should be, is the council getting value for money and could they have got anyone else of the same calibre for any less money? I strongly suspect the answers are YES and NO!

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    Norfolk John

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • According to you Wainwright and Plant, UKIP did not get onto outside bodies because they lack experience. Well, with this quote: 'Trevor Wainwright and other senior councillors said the appointment of Mr Mitchell was “vital” to ensuring the borough council can balance its books." You and Plant havent got any experience either. You owe UKIP one hell of a crawling apology, if not, then it will just go to show what hypocrites you all are. Just as a footnote, when is Plant actually going to listen to the people of Bradwell then, as was promised or is this just another load of lies from him ?

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    "V"

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Let's get this story back in "Most commented" as this is certainly not dead yet.

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    ThePresence

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Obviously the councillors don't frequent the site on a Sunday @ThePresence, they must all be in church! On a serious note, as the owner of Starburst Consulting Ltd. I would like to know what rate of tax he will be paying on this gross salary? Will it be Corporation tax rate, i.e. paid through his firm or top rate 45%?

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    fester1902

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

  • Running a 'tup'ney'ayp'ney' borough like Yarmouth certainly does not merit such a large salary. I thought it was looking at ways of saving money, not spending more of what it doesn`t have.

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    BG

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

  • Ok Councillor Castle. I'm not trolling I'm asking you to justify this.

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    ThePresence

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

  • Gordon Mitchell’s daily salary is sickeningly far greater than the average person earns a week! David Cameron only gets £145k a year and he runs the UK and Commonwealth nations, not just a Borough Council! Please don’t forget the £150k payoff of rate-payers money that Gordon Mitchell left Nottingham City Council with (Source: Nottingham Evening Post and Google). Laura McGillivray took £50k of rate-payers hard-earned monies for her 23 day week and left a mega can of worms behind her he pome to 'fix it' but everyone knows that it will be swept under the carpet. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edward Burke (1729 - 1797)

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    Gaz Gallagher

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

  • Bla...bla...bla.. tomorrow no one remembers and he keeps getting his queens. How about if everyone gets together and lets stop paying the council tax until they start spending the money where it makes a difference, e.g. to hire competent school teachers and staff.

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    Claudio Cardoso

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

  • Lynda

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

  • Will Mr Mitchell be relocating to Great Yarmouth or will we be paying his travelling and living expenses as well as paying his company for his services?

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    theanchovy

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • Not to speak of the 2000 pounds form the budget handed out to cllr.s directly, for them to spend as they see fit. In the past some did not manage to spend all of the money and we don't know what hapopened to it, so the practise was discontinued. But now, that Gt. Yarmouth will become a gambling town, these 2000,- of our taxes might find its way on to the croupier's table after all. So good to know that GYBC fully supported this sop.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • ThePresence

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • no wonder he has such a big smile on his face, disgusting, one minute they are laying off council workers cause they can't afford to pay them and all of a sudden they can find this kind of money! what the heck is going on with our council in this town

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    kimm

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • Quite right DWW25. Speaking to my firm's bookkeeper she says they have tightened up on this particular scam. You cant have one job with one firm or council then claim your salary gross. There is Employers NIC to be taken into consideration too as well as the other deductions this blokey is trying to avoid paying. Rap across knuckles to all concerned.

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    alecto

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • Interesting that this was supported by UKIP, Labour and the Tories.

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    smokedkipper

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • Surely this is a case for the HMRC to look into with regard to PAYE and NIC? Is he an "employee" of the council or not? I think the HMRC guidance rules on this topic are quite specific!

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    DWW25

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • This will be something to chat about, people of Yarmouth, as you wait in the queue for the foodbank this morning.

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    alecto

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • I forgot to mention. Wainwright & Plant would not give the UKIP councillors places on outside committees & bodies because in their words "they were not experienced enough". Wainwright & other senior councillors have now said "the appointment of Mr Mitchell was “vital” to ensuring the borough council can balance its books". So in effect Wainwright is saying that he and the other councillors are not experienced to be able to balance the books. Catch 22. Perhaps Wainwright and the others should be sacked and a complete re-run of the borough elections carried out.

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    "V"

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • So this is why the council are paying VAT on top of this obscene charge. They are paying his company and not putting him on the councils books. The actual figure (taking VAT as being 20% ) is £1,140 per day. Lee Sutton is way off the mark. Excluding weekends, taking the figure as being £950 per day that equates to £247,000 per annum. Including VAT that now equates to £296,400 per annum. Even worse than this rag states. Maybe its time that the people of Yarmouth and the outlying areas, protested with non payment of council tax to show their disgust. What would the council do if everyone refused to pay ?.

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    "V"

    Friday, July 25, 2014

  • Firstly there's 39 councillors on that council and only 34 voted. Where were the missing 5 for such an important decision? There's, I think, 15 UKIP councillors on that council, perhaps it's 10, but it's certainly more than the 4 who objected. So am I right in thinking that UKIP members (who stand for scaled down public service) voted for a £200k member of staff to be employed!?!? And why didn't the four who obtained have the guts to vote no? What does the local MP have to say about all of this? At general election time, with him having championed saving money at council top level, this is humiliating for him. Finally, and most importantly, how can those who voted yes seriously justify £200,000 coming out of the budget of a council with the funding and demographic problems of Great Yarmouth? It must be well above the district council market rate and leaves a very sick taste in the mouth indeed of so many people that this guy has to serve. Obscene.

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    DT

    Friday, July 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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