Hackney’s directly elected Mayor Jules Pipe earns around £97,000 a year, the Hackney Citizen can reveal, leading some to ask if the public is getting value for money.
The amount the Mayor receives is three times the average annual income in Hackney.
Mr Pipe is to continue receiving an annual salary of £75,846 in his capacity as Mayor, according to the 2013 report by Hackney Council’s independent remuneration panel. He also receives an additional £20,997 as chair of lobby group London Councils, which makes his total known earnings £96,843.
The Mayor also worked at the Learning Trust as a non-executive director from 2007 to July last year, but Hackney Council says he received no remuneration or expenses in connection with this role.
Mustafa Korel, a former Green Party candidate in Hackney, said that whoever is in charge of the overall strategy of the council should earn a wage to match the responsibilities of that post – but not overpaid. Mr Korel said his group Hackney First, which campaigns for transparency in the Mayor’s office, is calling for a 10 per cent decrease in the Mayor’s wages.
He said: “His other commitments potentially stop him from doing the things he has been elected to do. How often to you see him around? Every six to eight weeks he is in the paper for another photo opportunity.”
He continued: “Neither the Mayor nor his cabinet has a job description. I think what helps when holding anyone to account is having an agreed set of standards.”
On London Councils, Mr Korel said: “It’s great having someone on board for Hackney, but is it worth it for the people of Hackney? To me, it doesn’t seem like he’s putting Hackney first.”
In 2010 the lobby group London Councils, chaired by Mayor Pipe, recommended that directly elected mayors should receive an extra £6,000 per year, raising the Mayor of Hackney’s wage to £81,029. Hackney Council’s independent remuneration panel said in its 2012 report that while it agrees with London Council’s rationale for the raise, it did not propose an increase “in the current financial climate.” The panel also recommended no change in its 2013 report.
Mayor Pipe is the highest paid elected official at the Council, but he is by no means the top earner among all members. Chief Executive of Hackney Tim Shields is paid £176,531 a year.