The 15 best-paid staff at Herts and Dacorum councils were awarded more than £2million last year.
The figures, published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, show the best-paid staff at local authorities across the country in 2017-18.
Any staff who earned £100,000-plus per year are included.
The 12 best-paid staff at Herts County Council were paid more than £1.75million, including expenses and pension contributions.
Chief executive John Wood was the highest-earner, with a basic salary of £187,396 plus pension contributions worth £38,491.
At Dacorum Borough Council a futher three staff earned a combined £404,000.
The best-paid was chief executive Sally Marshall, who earned a basic of £135,225 plus pension contributions of £24,205.
Opposition councillor Ron Tindall, who sits on both councils, defended the size of the pay packets.
He said: “These are big salaries, but we do have some very able council officers.
“John Wood was an exceptional chief executive, and took us through some very difficult times.
“He was a great asset as we were exposed to government austerity, when the Conservatives took money away from the council yet expected us to provide the same services.
“He was worth every penny.”
He added: “Dacorum is also the biggest of the borough councils in Hertfordshire, and that does mean more responsibiltiy for the officers there.
“And at Hertfordshire John Wood had two jobs as he was both chief executive and director of environment.”
Despite the size of the sums, there was actually a significant fall in bigwigs’ pay at Herts County Council, where last year there were 15 staff earning £100,000-plus.
Between them their pay, pensions and bonuses were worth £2,017,940 in 2016-17.
But Dacorum Council’s pay for senior staff went up from nearly £386,000 a year earlier.
Cllr Tindall added: “What worries me most is not the salaries of a dozen officers at the top – it’s the lack of staff overall.
“Neither council has enough staff to do what it needs to do, and so the staff we do have are always under pressure.”
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