A PAY rise of up to £26,000 for Kirklees Council's top official has angered workers.
And they are also furious at increases made to other top officers within the council - at a time when other staff are facing cuts.
Now local government workers' union Unison has demanded an explanation for the big increases.
Union officials claim the council boosted the salary of its new chief executive's post by up to £26,000 a year - to recruit a man who already worked for the local authority.
They branded the move as a "scandalous waste of money".
But council deputy leader Clr John Smithson said:
"This is a very good economic deal and we are all very pleased with it."
Rob Vincent was earning £88,000 a year as deputy chief executive of the council.
But he has now been appointed chief executive to succeed Tony Elson - and will receive a salary on a sliding scale of up to £140,000.
Unison claims Mr Elson was earning £114,000 a year but London- based management consultants Hay urged councillors to boost the salary for the post by £26,000 a year to allow the council to recruit the best candidates.
It means Mr Vincent's salary has gone up by £52,000 a year from when he was deputy chief executive.
Paul Holmes, branch secretary of Kirklees Unison, says: "This is an outrage at a time when Kirklees is having to recruit social workers from Canada because there is such a shortage.
"They are cutting back on weekend working in parks and there are huge shortages of school crossing patrols, home helps and cleaners because the wage levels are so low.
"It is a scandalous waste of money."
In addition to the chief executive's salary being increased, eight other chief officer posts have also been regraded.
All the staff have received increases of between £5,000 and £10,000 a year, back-dated 12 months.
Many Unison members get less than £10,000 a year.
"We have thousands of members on low pay," said Mr Holmes.
Clr Smithson defended the hung council's Liberal Democrat-led Cabinet decision.
And he claimed that the move saved the council money in the long run - saying that his council's recruitment costs would have been £50,000.
He added: "We were advised by Hay not to advertise externally because of the potentially large costs. It would have taken us six months from start to finish.
"If we appointed someone externally it would have taken them three months to get their feet under the table."
He added: "We could have gone through the whole exercise but would most likely have ended up with the same candidate."
Mr Vincent referred inquiries about his salary to the council press office.
A spokesman said that plans were made to train up senior council directors long before the departure of Tony Elson, so they would be in a position to compete for the post of chief executive when he left.
Specialist recruitment consultants were enlisted to ensure it had been carried out.
He added Mr Vincent's salary was on a sliding scale and would begin at £120,000 a year.
His previous post was axed and work distributed among remaining directors.