Saturday 7 November 2015

Councillors' pay

The Western Mail has reported on the latest draft report from the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW). This is the body which recommends the level of councillors' pay across Wales.

In a newly acquired function, due to years of excess, it can also now make recommendations (but not set) the level of pay for chief executives in Wales, Unfortunately it doesn't apply to the current postholders.

The draft report is up for consultation but remains pretty much the same as last year. One small difference is a recommended 10% pay cut for those Executive Board councillors who have smaller 'workloads' than other Executive Board councillors. Not exactly pushing the boat out and off-set by a £2000 increase in the deputy leader's pay, of which we have two.

Anyway, as can be read in the Western Mail article, the move is not exactly being welcomed with open arms.

So what would it mean for Carmarthenshire? Back in May's full council meeting, when the last IRPW report was accepted, there was a general all round back-slapping on how they were all worth every penny, even more in some cases, not a pleasant experience for us webcast watchers.

There are ten Executive Board Members, seven of whom currently each receive £29,000 per year. The two deputy leaders, Cllrs Pam Palmer and Dai Jenkins each receive £31,250 (why we need two isn't clear, neither is it clear why we need two Assistant Chief Executives) and council leader Emlyn Dole, £48,000. Plus expenses of course.

Backbench councillors get £13,300 per year and Chairs £22,000. The total cost, including expenses, for all 74 councillors for the first six months of this financial year is £642,511.

The new recommendations, which may not get past the consultation stage, propose that the pay for some Executive councillors is reduced to £26,100, offset, as I said by an increase for deputy leaders to £33,350 apiece.

Should this get through to the final report in the new year, I expect we will witness something of an Executive bloodbath as our esteemed Members claim to do more work than the others.
It will be interesting to see whether any of them, in light of 'difficult decisions' take a nominal cut to show 'we're all in this together'...

I rather liked the suggestion put forward by one of the Barnet bloggers as one of their councillors responsible for massive cuts and wholesale outsourcing spouted forth on how lucky they were to have such hard working willing volunteers, now required to carry out essential services.

The blogger suggested that the Member might like to consider reflecting this spirit of public goodwill by exercising his own civic duties on an entirely voluntary didn't go down well.

To try attract a diversity of councillors a reasonable allowance is necessary of course, you wouldn't want a Chamber full of elderly retired farmers I'm sure... As for the calibre of our elected members, that's a different matter. With only a handful currently cutting the mustard, that little matter will be up to you dear voters, but not until May 2017. Unless there's a revolution.

As for cutting the cost of politics, I doubt that will happen until the number of councils are reduced, an enormously costly exercise itself. For now, and aside from the few, the gravy train rolls on.

Personally I'm in favour of slightly more radical changes in Carmarthenshire; the immediate removal of the post of chief executive and a stab at that £1m Motion put forward by Plaid councillors in Cardiff.


Redhead said...

How about those on benefits get a moderate allowance and expenses and those not on benefits get just expenses? Surely none of them are in it only for the money?

Anonymous said...

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