Cornwall Council consultant on £12,500 a month
A CONSULTANT hired to lead Cornwall Council's green agenda was paid the second highest salary at County Hall despite having no managerial role.
The West Briton can reveal that Stephen Cirell was paid £12,500 a month for seven months before being taken on at £140,000 a year.
His salary was higher than that of Tom Flanagan, who was managing the department to which Mr Cirell was seconded.
Mr Cirell was originally seconded to the council from legal firm Eversheds, where he was a partner.
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The council agreed to pay Eversheds £12,500 a month plus £60 a day for "living and travelling expenses".
After seven months, in April, 2010, he was employed on a fixed-term contract at £140,000 a year. Only council chief executive Kevin Lavery is paid more.
Mr Cirell also claimed £858.14 in business expenses while on his full-time contract and the council contributed 19.4 per cent of salary to his pension.
He left the council four months after being given a full-time contract.
Over a year from August 2009 he was paid £156,411 in total.
The details were revealed in the council's reply to a West Briton Freedom of Information request – which also showed there was no formal recruitment process, as it was "not viewed as an appropriate way to address the particular needs of the programme".
Green Cornwall was launched with the promise of innovative schemes such as an extensive electric car programme and renewable energy projects, most of which have now been abandoned or scrapped.
Councillor Alex Folkes, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said it was an example of a "broken promise" from the council's ruling Conservatives.
"The promise from the leader was that he would cut spending on consultants but it's actually gone up," he said.
"The council has made a great play about creating jobs in Cornwall, yet we're still employing consultants like this from upcountry."
Emma Boon, campaigns director at the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "This is a staggering deal for a consultant, and many taxpayers will be shocked and rightly question whether this was the best value for money."
In a statement Cornwall Council said: "The Green Cornwall programme, in terms of scope and ambition, was a national first, and its legacy is now bearing fruit with a number of large-scale and high-profile projects.
"Stephen created a corporate approach to green issues and raised the profile of the aims of Cornwall nationally and internationally.
"In influencing national policy, Stephen successfully lobbied for the council to have the right to reinvest locally the surplus made from selling the renewable energy it generated.
"Significant projects that are now in place due to the foundations that Stephen laid with the Green Cornwall programme include the carbon management plan, the solar scheme on council buildings that has saved the taxpayer £500,000 in energy bills and a high-profile lead role for Cornwall in the recently launched South West Marine Energy Park (a national first).
"Stephen's remuneration package, including the daily allowance, was negotiated with him as part of the terms and conditions of his employment.
"It is not typical of our standard agreements with consultants employed by Cornwall Council, but reflects his credentials at national level, as a leading specialist in climate change and experience as a special adviser to the Government on the green agenda."