How the pay and perks of a regional fire chief caused controversy

Graham Stagg

Graham Stagg - Credit: Archant

The pay and perks of a former Cambridgeshire fire chief led one MP to say he and his bosses were guilty of 'sticking two fingers up' at those who had dared to question it.

Cambridgeshire chief fire officer Graham Stagg saw his basic salary plus bonuses rise from £155,000 in 2010/11 to £170,000 in 2014/15, which meant he earned nearly £50,000 more than his Norfolk counterpart.

Mr Stagg has also been criticised for being a so-called 'boomerang boss' after retiring in 2013, collecting his pension early, and returning to the role a month later.

Stephen Barclay, North East Cambridgeshire MP, had previously questioned the transparency of Mr Stagg's pay rises, however the fire authority and Mr Stagg himself defended them pointing to the great success under his regime. Mr Stagg's replacement, Chris Strickland, is on a basic wage of £140,000. The pay for Norfolk Fire and Rescue's chief fire officer has remained stable, at £125,600 in 2011/12 and 2014/15.

Suffolk's chief fire officer, Mark Hardingham, was paid a salary of £118,104 in 2014/15. He received £104,355 in 2012/13 despite only being appointed the role on an interim basis in October 2013, before taking it on as a permanent position the following month.

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Andy Fry, the previous full time post-holder, was paid a salary of £117,497 in 2010/11, as director of public protection, social inclusion and diversity and chief fire officer.

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