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Burt’s bill for personal staff is $227,000

The salary bill for David Burt's two-member personal staff comes in at $227,000.

Mr Burt, the Premier, said a total of four people were employed under the Premier and Opposition Leader Personal Staffs Act 1983.

The information was revealed in responses to questions posed by Jeanne Atherden, Leader of the Opposition, in Parliament last week.

He said Owen Darrell, his Chief of Staff, received $122,064 per year in the post.

Mr Burt described Mr Darrell's responsibilities as “co-ordinating the Premier's schedule, activities and projects, and managing inquires to the Premier from residents”.

He said Mr Darrell has been employed since July 20.

Dana Selassie, the Premier's special adviser, is paid $105,765 annually.

Mr Burt said Dr Selassie provided “communication support”.

She has been employed since November 6. Mr Burt said Liana Hall held the post until October 31.

Sessions House also heard that a housekeeper for Clifton — the Premier's official residence — was employed at $35 per hour.

Judy Benevides, employed part-time as aide to the Opposition leader, is paid $43,769.

Mr Burt said Ms Benevides had been employed since August 22.

The salaries of Mr Darrell, Dr Selassie and the housekeeper are the same as they were for those holding the same positions under Craig Cannonier, the former Premier.

Mr Cannonier's personal staff salary bill was revealed to be roughly $418,000 in 2013.

Michael Dunkley, who succeeded Mr Cannonier after he stepped down in the wake of the Jetgate scandal in 2014, axed Dale Jackson, Mr Cannonier's chief of staff, and press secretary Charmaine Burgess.

Mr Cannonier said Mr Jackson was paid $122,064 annually, while Ms Burgess received $113,480 per year.

Mr Dunkley was not immediately able to provide the names, job titles and salaries of his personal staff when he succeeded Mr Cannonier.

He said: “Cabinet Office would have that.”

A request for the information sent to a ministry representative was not responded to by press time.

Mr Dunkley said the personal staff he had hired as Premier was the “lowest in recent history”.

Asked to clarify if he meant the salary spend was the lowest or the size of his personal staff, Mr Dunkley said: “I would suggest both, as I had no housekeeper.”

Chief of staff: Owen Darrell, with Liana Hall, left, David Burt and Alex Lightbourne on election night (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published February 16, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 16, 2018 at 7:32 am)

Burt’s bill for personal staff is $227,000

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