TORY minister and Brentwood MP Eric Pickles says it was the right time for county council boss Joanna Killian to give up one of her two jobs.

Mrs Killian has left her role as chief executive of Brentwood Council, although she will continue as chief at County Hall, Chelmsford.

Mrs Killian had been sharing the roles since August 2007 and was the highest paid chief executive in the country, earning £225,000.

She will give up the Brentwood role from April 1 and has agreed to take a £15,000 pay cut.

Mr Pickles, the local government minister and Brentwood MP, has previously called for a crackdown on top public sector pay, arguing they should not be paid more than the Prime Minster whose basic salary is £142,500. Mr Pickles said: “Joanna did a great job as chief executive of both authorities, but it was the right time for her to go.

“She has been at Brentwood for a number of years, and now the authority is in a place where it doesn’t need its own chief executive. We should be grateful for the work Joanna did. It is better to leave a role before people start asking why you have been there so long.

“Joanna helped the council save a lot of money because the previous chief executives were being paid six figure sums.”

Brentwood Council has been paying the county council £30,000 to share Mrs Killian.

Mr Pickles said it was also right for her to take a pay cut.

He added: “We should be showing restraint with salaries and its only right Joanna has taken a pay cut in these tough times.”

Pressure group, the Taxpayers’ Alliance, also welcomed the salary cut.

Campaign manager Robert Oxley said: “There was little justification for Mrs Killian earning such a vast sum before. Now that she has quit her roll at Brentwood her pay cut should properly reflect the change.

“As chief executive of a council that has to find millions in savings in the coming years she should set an example.”

On leaving her Brentwood role, Mrs Killian, said: “The past four years have been very interesting for me.

“Brentwood is a great council that has made strong progress over the past few years and now is a good time for me to take a step back and focus on my responsibilities with the county council.

“Even though I will no longer be chief executive I will keep my involvement through some of the ongoing projects we are jointly running. I know it has strong senior leadership in place to take it forward.”

No new chief executive is being recruited by Brentwood. Instead the current managing director Alison Crowe will extend her role.