Opposition Party Unity on Council Chiefs' Pay

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 19, 2013 | Go to article overview

Opposition Party Unity on Council Chiefs' Pay


Byline: MARTIN SHIPTON Chief Reporter martin.shipton@walesonline.co.uk

ALL three opposition parties at the National Assembly are backing a change in the law to stop council chief executives being able to recommend pay rises for themselves.

The move follows a scandal at Caerphilly council, where chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan proposed in a report that his pay should rise from PS132,000 to PS158.000.

Janet Finch-Saunders, the Welsh Conservatives' shadow minister for local government, said moves must be made to prevent a repeat of the situation.

"It is extraordinary that the highest paid executives in Welsh councils can make recommendations for their own pay," she said. "Such a practice inevitably leads to a situation where an individual could make recommendations based on what they can get away with rather than what is commensurate with the role and responsibilities.

"The silence of Labour ministers during the Caerphilly council senior pay debacle has been deafening. It is time for a thorough review of senior pay in Welsh councils, which is out of control with half the chief executives earning more than the Prime Minister.

"Perhaps Welsh Labour ministers could use the opportunity of the forthcoming Local Government Bill to set up an independent process to end the highly questionable practice of council chief executives effectively setting their own pay." Last month the Western Mail revealed how five councillors meeting secretly last September agreed to Mr O'Sullivan's recommendation about his own salary.

They also accepted his proposal that 20 other senior managers at the authority should receive huge pay rises.

The disclosure prompted fury from the council's workforce, who are on the third year of a pay freeze, as well as from many local residents.

Earlier this week Mr O'Sullivan admitted in a new report that the meeting where the pay rises were agreed had not been called with the proper notice, calling into question the lawfulness of the decision. On Thursday evening the council voted to accept a compromise deal brokered in negotiations between the ruling Labour group and the four trade unions that represent the workforce. …

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