A NEW chief executive for Worcestershire County Council has now been confirmed after a crunch vote.
Clare Marchant, the current assistant chief executive, will take over the top role in June.
It came despite a mass protest from the opposition Labour group, which voted against the appointment today on the basis the job will still pay more than the Prime Minister.
The salary will start at £151,000 rising to £170,000 within three years, compared to David Cameron's £138,000.
The stance infuriated other politicians at County Hall, who called the tactic "disgraceful" and said Labour was making "irrelevant comparisons".
The appointment was voted through by 38 votes to 13, with the Green Party also refusing to endorse it by abstaining during a show of hands.
Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: "How can they justify appointing someone to a non-statutory role on more than the Prime Minister, and on tens of thousands more than MPs.
"I really can't believe it when this council has shed so many jobs. It's as obvious as the nose on your face that the chief executive has fewer people to manage."
He said the payment "demonstrates all that is wrong with local government", adding that he was not being critical of the "individual who has got the job".
Councillor Alan Amos, also from Labour, then said: "We are told 'this is the going rate' but that's just a contrived, self-serving value, how we do know we won't get a good person for less."
It sparked fury in the council chamber, with the Conservatives saying it sent out "the wrong message".
Councillor John Campion said: "I am embarrassed to share a chamber with people who attack our staff in this way.
"What does this say to them? It's a disgrace - we employ thousands of people, we spend hundreds of millions of pounds, we need someone to do the job.
"It's shameful you've taken this line today."
Councillor Fran Oborski, a Liberal, said: "The last time I looked the Prime Minister had a flat at Downing Street and a house at Chequers, stop making irrelevant comparisons.
"I get fed up of people comparing this to the Prime Minister."
Trish Haines is taking early retirement and the Conservative leadership decided to cut the salary 10 per cent.
Ms Marchant, who has been at County Hall since 2010, started her career in the private sector at Hovis before joining Deloitte in 1997, spending six years advising both private and public sector bodies on how to modernise.
Then came a job at the NHS, where she spent seven years using new IT systems to change the health service.
A handover period will now take place before she starts on June 1.