THE chief executive of the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council will be paid as much as £180,000 a year.

Members of a task and finish group, chaired by Poole Council leader Janet Walton, began the process of recruiting someone to the new council’s top position ahead of its formation next year at a meeting last month.

The subject will be one of the first major issues considered by the Shadow Executive Committee with it included on the agenda for its first meeting on Friday morning.

Three interim officers from the existing borough councils have already been appointed to senior roles within that Shadow Authority. They are Jane Portman, chief executive, monitoring officer Tanya Coulter and Adam Richens, finance head.

However the appointment of a trio of Bournemouth Council officers to the positions at its meeting on Wednesday drew criticism from Poole Council People's Party member Mark Howell.

He said that he "knew nothing" about the officers and said that, due to data protection rules, the officers should have been "completely independent" from the existing authorities.

The interim officers will remain in the positions until permanent appointments are made prior to the new council taking over.

Details of the appointment process for the council's first chief executive have been made public in a report produced ahead of Friday's Shadow Executive Committee meeting

It says that the pay guide was put together with recommendations from the Local Government Association and recruitment consultancy Penna.

“Analysis of this pay data suggests that if the new council is to be competitive in the market and attract candidates of the appropriate quality, the salary for the chief executive should be within the range of £160,000-£180,000," it says.

Any appointment is likely to be earning about the same as the chief executive of the new Dorset Council, with a similar report published last month recommending a salary of up to £175,000.

Dorset County Council chief executive, Debbie Ward, was paid £181,000, including a £150,000 salary, in 2016/17 – making her the highest-paid council officer in the county.

In 2014/15 the best-paid chief executive of the 15 unitary authorities in the South West received £159,409 with the average pay just over £150,000.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said that whoever took up the roles at the new councils would have to prove that they are worth the salary.

"Council executive pay is generally too high in the UK, and the holder of this new post must work very hard to prove they are worth anything like it,” he said.

“Taxpayers are fed up of council tax shooting up every, seemingly to pay exorbitant remuneration, because don't forget this chief executive will be receiving a very generous pension on top of their salary.

“It may be more difficult to run a new unitary organisation for a few years than an existing body, but why not link the pay to performance?”

According to a timeline published in the reports ahead of next week’s Shadow Executive Committee meeting, the first recruitment adverts for the chief executive role are due to be published on July 12 with the final interviews taking place at the end of September.

The chief executive is expected to be in place in late 2018 or early 2019.