HUNTER councils paid about 25 senior managers almost $5.8 million during the past financial year.
Figures from the councils' annual reports for the 2011-12 financial year have detailed the $5,795,025.74 expenditure, with Lake Macquarie notching the highest portion of executive pay.
Employing council's top five managers cost $1,231,870, compared to $1,187,226.32 for Newcastle's top tier.
That figure includes only 11 months of wages for general manager Phil Pearce, who began his tenure in August 2011.
Port Stephens' numbers have risen to $1,224,803 due to redundancies.