NEW figures show the number of Kirklees Council staff earning more than £50,000 a year has shot up.
In 1996-97 only 10 employees were on packages of more than £50,000.
But that figure rose to 40 in 2001-02, and 222 in 2006-07.
The top earners now cost nearly £14m – or £35 for every man, woman and child in Kirklees.
The number includes head teachers at many of the district schools.
The details were revealed by the TaxPayers’ Alliance which has compiled figures for every council in the country.
Alliance chief executive Matthew Elliott said: “With council tax doubling in the past decade, it’s extremely disappointing that town halls have chosen to hire a new class of middle managers, many of whom are being paid more than MPs.
“Local authorities should study these findings carefully to see where savings can be made, instead of using their half billion pound PR machine to obscure their finances from taxpayers.”
The alliance found that, on average, councils were employing nine times as many people on £50,000-plus packages than ten years ago.
In the economy as a whole, only three times as many workers are earning more than £50,000 compared with ten years ago.
Mr Elliott said: “It is quite normal that wages should increase above the rate of inflation in a growing economy, so we would expect more people to earn more than £50,000 over time.
“But the increase in the number of council staff being paid more than £50,000 has been phenomenal, far outstripping the rate of increase in the economy as a whole.”
Retired businessman Richard Horsfall, of Honley, agrees.
He said: “It’s a massive increase in Kirklees over five years, a phenomenal rate of growth. No private company would be growing middle management like that.
“I would assume some of them are teachers and I wouldn’t begrudge them it. Spending on education has increased a lot but whether standards have improved is a matter of conjecture.”
Mr Horsfall, who worked for Finnish company Rettig, believes working conditions in the public sector are superior to those in the private sector.
He said: “The travel allowances are just unbelievable. If you have to travel abroad you get time off in lieu for every hour you’re away – even the time when you’re sleeping.
“Everyone who has a normal job would love to work for Kirklees. We can’t have the best talent going to a money-spending system like a council rather than a money-earning system.”
But the council’s director of human resources said the increase in top earners was a result of having an experienced and loyal workforce.
Cliff Stewart said: “Our turnover rate for senior managers is only 3% and half our staff are more than 45 years old. So there’s a bulge of people who have tipped over from the £40,000-plus bracket to the £50,000-plus bracket.
“The fact that we have experienced staff is one of the reasons we have one of the top performing councils in the country.”
And Mr Stewart added that many of the council’s top earners were coming to the end of their careers.
He said: “In five years’ time a significant number of those now earning more than £50,000 will have retired.”