Cost of Caerphilly council bosses pay rises revealed
9:20am Friday 1st March 2013 in News
THE cost of pay rises for Caerphilly council's top officers will be almost £1.5 million up until the next elections in 2017, a report revealed yesterday.
As well as the £357,000 salary increase that will be paid to 20 employees each year, the local authority also spent £11,000 on legal advice and £19,000 for audit work.
The information was requested by leader of the opposition Plaid Cymru group Colin Mann and has been given in a report to members of the authority's policy and resources committee.
In the document, written by head of corporate finance Nicole Scammell, it is outlined that £11,000 was paid for legal advice from lawyers Geldards and £19,000 for audit work by accountants PWC.
It shows that the £357,000 in extra wages each year will amount to £1,428,000 over the remaining four years of the current Labour administration.
This is despite a so-called compromise position being reached in January, with chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan agreeing that his rise of around £32,000 be reduced to £5,000.
The issue caused uproar, with trade unions blasting the rises at a time when most council staff are experiencing pay freezes, while some employees staged a lunchtime walk-out in protest.
Cllr Mann said that the rises were equivalent to an almost three per cent rise on council tax.
He added that despite his reduced level of increase, Mr O'Sullivan will still get £100 more per week, an amount that is "huge" compared to what most ordinary people can enjoy.
He said: "This is a huge price to pay and the residents are picking up the tab for this totally unacceptable rise when council workers have had their pay frozen for three years and many people are struggling to keep a roof over their head."
The report said that the compromise deal means that £82,000 will now be saved over the next three years because of Mr O'Sullivan's reduced rise.
It also says that the increases will be funded by using money that would have been used for three unfilled head of services positions and their secretarial support.
Labour members said the pay increases were agreed by a cross-party committee that included four of their group and Plaid representative James Fussell.
After the compromise position was reached, leader Harry Andrews said: "Our determination to address this issue was sincere and we value every single member of staff of this organisation."
Chairman of the policy and resources committee Hefin David said he will ask Cllr Mann to explain his "strange" comments at next week’s meeting.
He said the pay increases have no bearing on council tax levels and questioned why Cllr Mann linked them.
He also said the compromise position was the best possible, saying any reversing of the rises could have led to "industrial disputes with senior officers, huge legal costs and greater reputational damage to the authority which certainly would have impacted on council tax levels."