So Kevin Lavery has taken a voluntary pay cut in recognition of the financial crisis facing Cornwall.
From January 1, rather than take his annual rise and cost of living allowance, Lavery will take a 5% pay cut, drawing a mere £190k per annum. He is also cutting his travel expenses from 40p to 25p a mile.
On the local television news last night he was given quite a grilling about this, suggesting he should have taken a bigger cut in consideration of the public spending squeeze and council job losses.
How could it be right that a chief executive of a county council gets paid more than the Prime Minister of the whole country?
To be honest I felt a bit sorry for Lavery. Had he not taken a pay cut, there would have been no story, no criticism. I will not go so far to say that he is making a generous gesture, but all the same we should accept it for what it is.
Is his salary obscene? Perhaps. But not as obscene as, say, Premier League footballers, who earn that sort of money in a couple of weeks, or City bankers who triple it in bonuses alone.
It is market forces that determine salary levels. If you want the best, you have to pay the best, and we have to hope that Lavery is the best for delivering greater economic prosperity for Cornwall.
Lavery says he is not motivated by money, and took a big pay cut to move to Cornwall. He insists it is the challenge that gets him out of bed each morning.
Sure, with such a big salary come big expectations, and it is time for him to justify his remuneration.
But rather than moan about how much he does or doesn’t get paid, perhaps he should just be left to get on with his job.