Chief Officers’ Temporary Bonuses Could Be Permanent

Council Chamber at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

The highest-earning Council staff could keep their salary bonuses permanently, even though many Councillors believed the market factor supplements would be discretionary and temporary.

Members have heard that the so-called ‘Scilly weighting’, which can boost some officers’ annual income by over £4500, may only be removed with the officers’ consent.

The advice from a panel of legal and human resources experts was delivered on a videolink from Truro during the Policy and Resources Council meeting.

Councillor Richard McCarthy said he was “frustrated and cross” by what he heard.

Richard claimed the pay panel convened by the Council had found no justification for continuing the bonus, which was introduced to retain and recruit staff.

The policy presented to members read, “In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary, to ensure the effective recruitment and retention of employees, to pay individuals and/or groups of employees a premium rate to reflect the market competitiveness of the job.”

Richard said Russell Symons, Director of South West Councils had told the pay panel that the local government job market “had in effect collapsed“ and there was no need for the pay boost with “tens of thousands” of local government jobs lost nationally.

Councillor McCarthy insisted that Cornwall Council’s legal expert, Richard Williams, put his opinion on the inability of the Council to remove the market factor supplement in writing.

Councillor McCarthy said he was unhappy at advice being offered verbally on repeated occasions.

He claimed members were originally told by HR and employment law experts that the bonuses would be reviewable in a year and could be withdrawn after that time.

Members had expected to remove them in a meeting before Christmas following a job role evaluation report, but that hadn’t materialized.

There had been “slippage after slippage” in the Council’s HR advice.

 

Market Supplement Could Be Pensionable

 

It’s emerged that the market factor supplement can be included when calculating an hourly rate for overtime pay and the extra amount will also count towards employee pension rights.

Scilly Councillors had previously been assured that the market factor supplement wouldn’t be pensionable and Richard said he had been told that couldn’t be applied retrospectively.

Councillor McCarthy also expressed concern that there were two levels of MFS being used to bolster the pay of sixteen Council employees.

In addition to the Chief Officer arrangements, the pay ceiling of some staff grades had been increased.

He was told that very few Cornwall staff are offered the supplements but they are looking at using it to recruit social workers

P&R Vice-chairman, David Pearson took over the meeting after Marian Bennett had to leave for another meeting. He used his casting vote to break the 3-3 deadlock on whether the experts’ report should be accepted.

He said he backed the report as a starting point for further discussion at the next meeting.

Members have also discussed their statutory obligation to publish pay packages for any employee earning over £50,000.

The data will have to include any payments in addition to regular salary, which is a cost to the ratepayer.

Councillor Amanda Martin said she welcomed “any light to be shone on the level of remuneration of officers” and she hoped that it would show “travel packages and perks.”

She said it was, “important so we can look our communities in the face.”

 



17 Responses to Chief Officers’ Temporary Bonuses Could Be Permanent

  1. Harriet February 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Cassandra and Rick maybe you should stand in the next elections….you have come up with such positive ideas.

  2. Cassandra February 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    What do you suggest Rick? I’m thinking a letter to the Taxpayers’ Alliance to see what they think can be done and possibly a letter to Eric Pickles asking the same question.

  3. Rick February 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Lets face facts and maybe stop talking and take a stand against these constant scandals from the Council. At the end of the day WE all pay our Council Tax which PAYS their wages so they in fact work for us – We are THEIR employers! Time to make a stand maybe?

  4. Euan February 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Unfortunately it has been proved time and time again that talking to ‘members’ has little or no impact.

  5. Philip downs February 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I think that in a small community the Internet/facebook really comes into its own, this council is just not used to this sort of scrutiny it just wouldn’t happen pre Internet but now we all have to answer to everything, this has to be a healthy situation, not so insular, but its going to take a bit of getting used to, Mr Jay probably, very likely, is a recipient of the bonus scheme.

  6. Jay-Time February 9, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Todd and co, what would you do differently if you were the CE or Deputy CE?

    How many of you attend consultations? How many of you have run to be Councillors?

    There is a real culture of people being negative and yet doing nothing of note to back it up. You all just moan but conveniently disappear when it’s time to stand up and be counted.

    If you want change then the only way to do it is through the Members. Either talk to them, or become one yourself, none of this internet whining on here or on Facebook amounts to anything.

    • Mike Brown February 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      Jay-Time, on my part I admire most of what our councillors do, it’s a tough and thankless task at times.

      But the pay hike & MFSC’s was a dreadful, dreadful mistake.
      A lower raise of 12% was booted out two months earlier but somehow it grew and appeared at the next meeting and was voted through in secrecy (part 3) by just 4 or 5 councillors!
      If the other councillors had known and had their say it would have been thrown straight in the bin.

      Furthermore it was based on two separate consultants reports hired in at a cost over £11k+ when there was already a perfectly sound mechanism in place to determine chief officers salaries.

  7. Todd Stevens February 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Jealousy? possibly! but errrr, one would have a right to be with the extortionate amount they are paid for (badly) managing such a tiny place. As somone above stated- “if they dont like the pay- leave” Its long since time for the Chief Executive to move on.

  8. Cassandra February 8, 2012 at 9:05 am

    No “wage related jealousy” here either, just concern about Public Sector waste. But, bearing in mind the average salary on the Islands is said to be around £15,000 and also how hard many people work particularly during the season, it would be understandable if there was.

  9. Steph February 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I think I suspect a hint of wage related jealousy from the above commenter’s!

    • Mike Brown February 8, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Hi Steph, not from me at least.
      Just a few days after the pay hike news hit the fan, the rest of the workforce were told that their pay was frozen for the next two years!
      This didn’t go down too well either!

  10. Chris Peat February 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with Todd and Cassandra. Almost no crime, mild climate, beautiful environment, friendly community and only a village to administer. OK, a complicated village with a few extras such as providing water and education, but it’s still a village!

  11. Mike Brown February 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

    We heard Mike Hicks state on the radio a couple of months ago that the £4,500 supplements will be removed?
    Isn’t Mike the boss?

  12. Cassandra February 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I’m loving the irony of them awarding themselves a market factor supplement and now being told the local government job market has collapsed. Anyone want to bet on them taking a cut to reflect this particular “market factor” – thought not. If you don’t think you’re paid enough to work on our Islands then please leave – the door’s open and there are thousands out there who would like your jobs.

  13. Todd Stevens February 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Bonus! bonus for what? -the moorwell alp? or is it for the porthcressa regeneration work being performed within the tourist season?

    • Phil February 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Neither of those Todd…
      It’s for renaming the industrial estate to Porthmellon business park (or whatever they decided to call it) thus making St Mary’s a more prosperous place for us all. And lets not forget that the more money they get paid the more money they will plough back into the local economy. I don’t feel that any of us are worthy enough to comment on what a fantastic job they all do and once it’s all finished you will be able to rent a business unit from them with high speed broadband

  14. Cassandra February 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I don’t know whether to congratulate the Council Officers for their negotiating skills or complain about the utter stupidity of the majority of the Councillors.

    During a time of austerity with massive cuts in public spending and sweeping redundancies in the public sector the Officers have not only been able to get themselves a huge rise but have had the cheek to present it as “weighting”. Seriously – extra money to compensate them for working in somewhere as beautiful as Scilly- you couldn’t make it up.