Kieran Stigant’s overall £396,143 package, including redundancy payout, salary and pension contributions, was cheaper than just one chief executive across the whole country.
The figure was revealed in a joint investigation by the Mail and Taxpayers’ Alliance, which also showed the county council had 20 staff on its books earning £100,000 or more in the last financial year.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has defended the sum, stating it had ‘robust procedures’ for determining salaries.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Local authorities that are providing more for less and delivering council tax cuts clearly have talented people at the helm, but taxpayers living in poorly performing areas will be furious at the scale of some of these massive pay awards.”
Mr Stigant stood down in January last year, with his position dissolved.
Chief operating officer Diane Ashby, who was an interim replacement for five months, cost £150,207, according to the investigation.
Mr Stigant’s figure was only eclipsed by Jill Stannard, chief executive of Cumbria County Council, also no longer in post. She cost £411,025.
A spokesman for WSCC said: “The council is in effect a billion pound business, delivering a complex range of services to 800,000 customers annually.
“The county council operates robust procedures for determining salaries of all staff to ensure that we’re offering our taxpayers’ value for money. All salaries on appointment are subject to an appropriate level of sign-off by more senior officers or are approved by members.”
Mr Stigant’s base salary was £176,750. He received a redundancy payment of £119,500 and a payment in lieu of notice of £88,000.
Untaken leave amounted to £8,500. He also waived a performance-related bonus.
The spokesman added: “The remaining amount reflects the base salary paid as per the chief executive’s contract up to date of leaving the County Council. The figure quoted also includes the employer’s pension contribution of £25,364, however this was not actually paid to the individual.”
The council confirmed it had 21 staff on more than £100,000, including six members of staff employed in schools.
The investigation found the number of staff on more than £100,000 in West Sussex districts and boroughs as follows;
Arun - three
Chichester - four
Adur and Worthing - four
Mid Sussex - one
Horsham - three
Crawley - seven