Caerphilly councillors to debate top staff’s big pay hikes
10:43am Wednesday 16th January 2013 in News
CAERPHILLY councillors will meet tomorrow night to discuss controversial inflation-busting pay hikes for its top officers.
The issue has caused huge controversy, with 600 council staff already taking part in a one-hour walk-out in protest and first minister Carwyn Jones saying there must be transparency on the issue.
Massive increases of up to 20 per cent for 16 senior staff were rubber-stamped in September- with chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan seeing his pay increased by as much as £27,000 to around £147,000.
The decision was made as part of an exempt item which went before the council’s remuneration committee and not made public.
However, after the document was obtained by the Argus, union bosses made their disdain clear, pointing to the fact all other staff are experiencing a pay freeze and Mr O’Sullivan’s rise equates to two years’ salary for some council employees.
Opposition Plaid Cymru group leader Colin Mann called for the document which recommended the increases to be made public, calling for "openness and transparency after the debacle of these totally unjustified pay increases".
It is believed the sole Plaid member on the remuneration committee, James Fussell, voted against the increases, with the other four members of the committee belonging to the ruling Labour party.
The Labour party apologised for the decision last month, saying it is seeking legal advice to see if it can be reversed.
In a statement, the party said: "In future the full council will decide on remuneration levels of senior managers. The council leadership recognises, values and thoroughly appreciates the contribution of staff at all levels of the organisation."
The issue was also brought up at First Minster’s Questions in the Senedd and Carwyn Jones AM said there must be "transparency and fairness", adding: "All will bear in mind at a time when so many public sector workers are having pay frozen, it is very difficult to explain substantial increases for senior officers in any organisation."
Caerphilly councillors will tonight look at the report given to the remuneration committee and consider issues such as making it public.