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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 14:12 GMT
Abuse fears for top-paid bosses
Council Tax notice
The Taxpayers' Alliance wants salaries to be published
A council is refusing to name 16 bosses who earn more than 100,000 a year over fears of abuse from the public.

Kent County Council turned down a campaign group's request to name its most expensive employees.

The Taxpayers' Alliance is trying to use the Freedom of Information Act to identify high-earning public servants.

England's highest-paid local authority boss in 2007, KCC chief executive Peter Gilroy, received "unwarranted personal comments" over his 229,999 salary.

Alex King, deputy leader of the Conservative-led authority, said the council had "learnt from the experience of taking a more open stance".

The position we have previously taken to withhold the identity of individual officers is entirely justified and should be maintained
Alex King, KCC deputy leader

The Taxpayers' Alliance said several council chiefs earned more than Prime Minister Gordon Brown - who earns 188,849 - and taxpayers had a right to know who got what and why.

But Mr King said: "We have taken a clear and unequivocal decision not to disclose individuals' identities on the basis of the unwarranted personal and abusive comments and attacks made following last year's publicity.

"The position we have previously taken to withhold the identity of individual officers is entirely justified and should be maintained," he added.

'Paid too much'

The Taxpayers' Alliance said it was trying to gather pay information for its 2008 "rich list" when the council refused to give details.

A spokesman said they were appealing to the information commissioner in an attempt to force Kent to comply with its request.

They believe the information should be easily available and published on council websites.

"If these were private companies and the taxpayers were shareholders they would have access to the information," the spokesman said.

"And if council bosses are worried that the public will abuse them because of their high salaries perhaps they should wonder whether they're being paid too much of the public's money."



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