The councils’ accounts show chief executive Nigel Lynn was paid £146,000 in 2019/20, including £22,000 of pension.
More than 2,800 local authority employees across the UK earned more than £100,000 in 2019/20, according to tax reform group the TaxPayers’ Alliance – the most since 2013/14.
But how does that compare to other public sector workers and what does it equate to in brass tax?
The figures come one month after West Sussex County Council approved a 4.99 per cent council tax rise for 2021/22.
On average, a Band D property owner in Arun will pay £1,967.34 over that 12-month period.
That means Nigel Lynn’s mammoth salary equates to an entire year’s worth of council tax from more than 74 homes in the district.
The councils’ six-figure directors – which also include the director of place, Karl Roberts, and Philippa Dart, the director of services – earned a total of £368,000 in 2019/20.
That is the equivalent of 187 homes’ worth of Band D council tax. More than half of Littlehampton’s Kingley Gate estate, for example.
By comparison, a registered nurse employed by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with three years’ experience, earns just under £27,000.
That is less than 20 per cent of one Arun District Council chief executive.
The council’s big three equate to around 14 full-time registered nurses.
Last month, the Government recommended nurses should receive a one per cent pay increase for the year 2021/22, which works out as a pay cut with inflation set to rise to 1.5 per cent.
Sussex Police officers start at £24,546 per year – meaning one councils’ chief executive equals just fewer than six police officers.
A trainee community firefighter working for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service earns £23,833 per annum. That is less than a fifth of the average council’s director.
Public sector jobs aside, the median salary in West Sussex in 2019/20 was £28,186 per year. Over those 12 months, Arun District Council’s chief executive earned more than five times the average worker.
Unlike councillors, council officers are typically non-political, working behind the scenes to put into action the agenda of the elected authority.
Over the next few days, the Littlehampton Gazette and Bognor Regis Observer will be examining to what extent the councils’ executive officers impact our daily lives, contribute to the delivery of our public services and whether they constitute value for our money.