Essex

Essex fire chief's new planning role boosts pay by £28,000

The Essex fire chief is to be paid an extra £28,000 on top of his £148,000 salary to take on the additional role of county emergency planning officer.

Last year chief fire officer David Johnson was paid £19,000 for carrying out the same task for part of the year.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the pay boost would shock people faced with public service cuts and pay freezes.

Fire authority chairman Anthony Hedley said they made it clear the new duties would increase Mr Johnson's salary.

An FBU statement said: "According to the Downing Street website, the Prime Minister is paid £142,500 - well below Mr Johnson's pay last year and significantly below his current pay of £176,266.

"It is also well above the pay of Essex MP Eric Pickles, the minister with overall responsibility for the fire service in England."

'Additional responsibility allowance'

Paul Woolstenholmes, FBU national officer, said: "While the rest of the Essex fire service faced a pay freeze Mr Johnson secured an extra £28,000 in his pay packet.

"This is a pay freeze-busting pay rise through the back door.

"I think the public will be shocked by the size of this boost to the chief officer's pay, which has been kept under wraps until now."

Fire authority chairman Mr Hedley said: "Once again the FBU is seeking to mislead the public as it continues its personalised and vindictive campaign against the chief fire officer.

"The fire authority agreed to the chief fire officer taking over as county emergency planning officer and that the post would attract an additional responsibility allowance.

"Essex County Council agreed the level of that allowance for taking on the role and driving through changes that have saved the Essex taxpayers in the region of £185,000.

"The additional role carries significant additional responsibilities and workload beyond the role of chief fire officer and the council's associated remuneration allowance reflects that."

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