'Massive anger' as Caerphilly pay-rise deal costs £1.1m
11:30am Thursday 24th January 2013 in Gwent news
THE row over inflation-busting pay increases for Caerphilly council’s top officers rumbles on, with Plaid Cymru and Independent members lashing out despite a compromise being reached.
Independent Anne Blackman of Nelson, said council staff and constituents won’t forget the “catastrophic failure”, while Plaid said the taxpayer must not pick up the tab.
The issue has been hugely controversial, ever since it was made public that a special remuneration committee sanctioned rises of up to 20 per cent for the council’s top 16 officers in a behindclosed- doors meeting.
Chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan wrote the report recommending that his pay rise by as much as 20 per cent to £147,000. However, after this drew angry words from trade unions and led to a walk-out of staff, many of whom have had their pay frozen, a special full council meeting was arranged.
Labour members voted for a “compromise position”, where the chief executive’s pay would rise by four per cent to £137,000, with other senior staff keeping their rises, which weren’t as high.
Council leader Harry Andrews said: “This compromise will hopefully demonstrate to staff and the wider public that our determination to address this issue was sincere and that we value every single member of staff of this organisation.”
Cllr Blackman asked why details of the behind-closed-doors remuneration committee meeting were not given to other councillors.
She said if it had been, no rises would have been sanctioned.
Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru – who froze council tax when in power for two years – said the taxpayer must not pick up the bill for the compromise.
Group leader Colin Mann said the £1.1 million it will cost to pay the rises over the next four years is the equivalent of over 2p extra on council tax.
Cllr Mann said: “The chief executive will still receive a £100 a week rise. That is something that is still causing massive anger.”