A total of 20 council employees in Northern Ireland earned more than £100,000 during the last financial year.
The figures were made available by the TaxPayers’ Allowance who today published its annual ‘Town Hall Rich List’ giving the top earning council staff throughout the UK.
The top council earner in Northern Ireland for 2017/18 was Belfast City Council’s chief executive Suzanne Wylie whose salary plus pension benefits totalled £162,250 – nearly £30,000 more than the next biggest earner.
Belfast City Council had the most employees (six) who received remuneration in excess of £100,000.
Other top earners were Newry, Mourne and Down chief executive Liam Hannaway on £138,950, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon chief executive Roger Wilson on £138.650, and Antrim and Newtownabbey chief executive Jacqui Dixon on £134,250.
The chief executives for Derry and Strabane, Mid and East Antrim, Fermanagh and Omagh, and Mid Ulster all earned close to £132,000 while Ards and North Down chief executive Stephen Reid received £113,500.
The only NI council whose chief executive did not appear on the list as earning over £100,000 in 2017/18 was Lisburn and Castlereagh, whose former chief executive Theresa Donaldson announced in May 2018 she was to resign. She was replaced in November by David Burns.
The top earner among the non chief executive positions was Ronan Cregan, director of finance and resources at Belfast City Council, on £126,850.
John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said it was disappointing that councils in the UK were “responding to financial reality through further tax rises (rates in NI) and reducing services rather than scaling back top pay”.
He said: “Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with staggering pay-outs for those leaving their jobs.
“There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less, but the sheer scale of these packages raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”