THE salaries of top council bosses who make key decisions across Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne have been scrutinised by a group who campaign for lower taxes.

Mark Williams, chief executive of South Somerset District Council and East Devon District Council, is the only member of staff earning over £100,000 at SSDC.

The News obtained figures which showed a further seven staff earn £60,000 to £98,000.

The council handles matters such as planning, recycling, the environment, housing and leisure.

Andy Silvester, of the TaxPayers Alliance, applauded the “innovative” cost-cutting steps, but insisted more should be done.

He said: “The council has thought of innovative steps to bring down the cost of local government and should be congratulated for that.

“At a time when councils are finding necessary savings it’s absolutely right that senior officials recognise their part in delivering value for money to the taxpayer.”

The alliance was critical of Somerset County Council when it emerged that 15 posts at County Hall each cost council taxpayers £96,000 or more, seven staff were on more than £85,000 and 25 managers earned between £54,978 and £63,639.

A spokesman for South Somerset District Council said: “We re-structured our senior management team in 2010 when the council agreed to the sharing of a chief executive with East Devon District Council as a means of reducing costs.

“At the same time the number of directors was reduced from four to two.

“Additionally, the overall number of staff employed in the same period by the council has reduced by over 100, and again this was primarily to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

“We annually publish the pay information for our senior officers in our Senior Pay Policy Statement, which is available on our website.”

What do you think about the wages? Let us know.


Mark Williams, chief executive - £122,210 (part 50/50 between SSDC and EDDC).

Rina Singh, director of place and performance - £97,013.

Vega Sturgess, director of operations and customer focus - £97,013 (reduced to £92,548 through Additional Annual Leave Scheme).

Ian Clarke, assistant director of legal and corporate services – £74,572 (cut to £71,139 through Additional Annual Leave Scheme).

Donna Parham, assistant director of finance and corporate services - £74,572 (cut to £71,139 through Additional Annual Leave Scheme).

Laurence Willis, assistant director of environment - £61,651.

Steve Joel, assistant director of health and wellbeing - £61,651.

Martin Wood, assistant director of economy - £61,651.

Helen Rutter/Kim Close, assistant director of communities (joint role) - £58,145 (combined salary).