COUNCIL chief executive Steve Robinson received an extra £13,000 for acting as returning officer at last year’s General Election, despite a fiasco which saw voters denied their right to vote.
Mr Robinson earned his £180,000 annual salary plus £13,000 for organising the election in Cheshire West and Chester according to the accounts.
Chester Tory and Labour supporters were furious on the night of the election because voters who registered close to the deadline were left off the electoral roll supplied to polling stations.
These voters had to wait while polling staff rang through to the central office to verify their entitlement to vote but some didn’t have time to hang around at busy times when the phone line was engaged.
A review also found that 157 voters missed out when their postal votes were not processed in time.
Mr Robinson said his extra payment was set by Government and he had been paid a fee for each of the four parliamentary constituencies involved.
He said: “The view is that it’s about responsibility and it has been at that level for a long time.”
Mr Robinson added there was much more to the role than simply reading out the results on the night.
Talking about the mistakes at the General Election, he said: “I think we made clear at the time there were concerns. I authorised an inquiry.
“We were open and transparent and those issues were resolved.”
Asked whether he had considered turning down the returning officer fee, to which he is entitled at every election, he added: “I didn’t see a need for that.”
The council’s accounts show Mr Robinson’s benefits in kind, including his car allowance, rose from £1,000 to £2,000 last year and his employer’s pension contribution rose from £37,000 to £40,000 resulting in an overall £17,000 rise in his financial package of £235,000 compared to the previous year.