COUNCIL leader Sarah Hayward sat next to council chief executive Mike Cooke in front of MPs last week to explain how they dice the money up for chief officers at the Town Hall. Camden feels like it’s in a pretty warm place on this debate because when Mr Cooke replaced Moira Gibb two years ago, he agreed a smaller pay package. The man at the top insisted to the politicians that he was very proud of all of this and felt no envy for council chief execs elsewhere who are getting paid more. The reduction meant Camden is no longer in the Premier League table of high payers when newspapers chalk up their intermittent round-ups.
As the Commons select committee probed the well-worn paid-more-than-the-PM debate, there was time for Sarah to flash a kerching smile when reminding panel members that she “just had a pretty resounding result at the ballot box” and hinting that the whole discussion was a bit old hat because nobody had ever raised Mr Cooke’s pay packet, or that of his senior ranked colleagues, with her during the local elections campaign or before. “Overall, I think my residents are quite happy,” she reckons here.