COUNCIL chief executive Steve Robinson claimed an extra £45,000 for running this year’s local elections and Alternative Vote referendum in his role as returning officer.
Mr Robinson, who earns a £180,000 annual salary, revealed the information after an enquiry from The Chronicle.
The Cheshire West and Chester Council boss points out every council chief executive in the country has been paid such a fee for the past 26 years.
In a letter to The Chronicle, he said: “I do appreciate how, in these financially stringent times, there will be those members of the public who regard the fees as unwarranted.
“I believe there are many aspects of the current system governing elections which are ripe for reform. If the fees paid to the returning officers were to disappear, then so be it.”
The Chronicle previously revealed Mr Robinson claimed £13,000 for running the 2010 general election despite problems including a failure to process 157 postal votes.
It was partly to counter accusations the council had been understaffed and to provide cover for an absent colleague that the authority hired consultant Keith Porter as election manager for this year’s local elections but Mr Robinson was in overall charge.
Mr Robinson said: “Local authorities are, of course, obliged to nominate returning officers who, in turn, are legally liable personally for the overall conduct of the election and, as such, risk heavy penalties if this obligation is not met.
“All returning officers require the support of a team of dedicated administrators to carry out the functions required to deliver a complex and vital process.”
The full text of Mr Robinson’s letter to The Chronicle appears on pages 38-39.