Pay Rise For Scilly Election Workers Rejected

polling stationPlans to boost the pay of the Council’s returning officer and polling station workers on local election day have been rejected.

The general election is funded by government and staff rates have increased. But the Town Hall has to pay the local election costs and there hasn’t been a rate increase for two years.

Administration officer Sue Pritchard presented a report recommending staff pay should increase from around £165 to £195 to mirror Cornwall’s rates.

Sue argued that staff worked 16 hours on polling day. Workers traveling from St Mary’s to off-island polling stations had an even longer day and the overall workload had increased as there were now around 180 postal votes to count.

Sue also wanted those staff to be paid an additional £45 for around an hour of training. Cllr Richard McCarthy didn’t support that, claiming it was, “a bit weird.”

She pointed out that when Council staff work on election day, they take a day’s leave to do it.

But that didn’t sway Cllr Amanda Martin, who told her, “we’re familiar with the concept of giving up time for the community.”

Sue Pritchard warned members that she had met “a certain amount of resistance” trying to persuade people to work for a, “considerably less sum” than they earned in November’s referendum.

Cllr Martin wanted to know whether the work had been offered within the wider community beyond the Town Hall. She questioned whether the jobs had been advertised widely because her friends were unaware of it.

Sue said both Council staff and other locals have been asked, but Amanda said she’d like a recruitment campaign and wanted to retain the current pay rate. She felt it would be a, “nice little earner for people who are not on huge salaries” and shouldn’t be for a, “restricted group of people.”

Sue Pritchard also asked Councillors to approve a pay rise for the returning officer, a role held most recently by Neville Gardner, and their deputy.

Sue proposed doubling the election payment for a contested ward to £400 and increasing the payment for an uncontested seat from £75 to £100. The deputy would get half that payment.

Sue argued that the role brought responsibilities. A past returning officer had been called to the High Court because of electoral issues, she said.

But Cllr Martin said she couldn’t support a rise that was, “a considerable amount of money.”

Despite Mrs Pritchard’s numerous appeals, Cllr Martin was not convinced and told the meeting some islanders should take on board the need to limit expenditure, saying, “we are all in this together.”

It’s likely that Full Council will discuss proposals for more modest election staff pay rises in March.

12 Responses to Pay Rise For Scilly Election Workers Rejected

  1. pat hicks February 26, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Well yet another islander. you seem to know alot about council buisness. which island would you recomend..

  2. yet another islander February 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Boats have to go back and forth whether the poll clerk is based on St Marys or lives on the relevant off-island. The ballot box and voting forms have to be accompanied by one of the clerks both to the polling station and back again to make sure that no one can interfere with it so no dosh to be saved there Pat. It would be just the same for a village in deepest darkest Cornwall, the ballot box has to go back to base!
    Which island do you fancy working on?

  3. pat hicks February 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Well said Judge Judy and Bill. wish i could put words down like that. say it as you mean it.. good on you.
    dont forget polling day. we need to have some new councilors on board.

  4. Ian T February 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Here on the mainland many organisations/facilities (Libraries, T.I.C’s,etc.) are staffed by volunteers. The National Trust, for instance, has 65,000 volunteers and could not exist without them. I, personally, spend up to twenty hours a week doing voluntary work as does my wife. Surely, there are some people on Scilly who could man the Polling Stations..?

  5. Bill Hiner February 25, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Isn’t it funny how restraint can be applied vigorously to the wages and expenses of those at the bottom of the pile? I only wish that the same could be directed at those at the top who earn a great deal more than the trifling amount being talked about here!
    As for “We’re all in it together”- well, some are in it a lot more than others-right up to their necks! Someone earning 70K plus doesn’t care about recessions!
    Stop trimming the financial hedge with nail clippers and start using a chain saw.

  6. Judge Judy February 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I hope we continue this cost cutting, maybe looking at Members expenses, or perhaps cutting down on the number of members! How about off-island taxi services for members? Get rid of that.
    Lets also look at the contract offered,by members, to the director of finance who works around 3 days a week. And maybe members can tell peopl just how mch money was spent to pay off mr Hygate?

    I’ll applaud members when the cost cutting is serious and not just something they pick up and put down when it suits.

    We used to have visions and aspirations as a community, and now our entire vision is ‘to survive’. How depressing.

    These same members have been around for four years, lots of mistakes have been made in that time and they’ve been part of all the failures as well as the successes. Remember that come polling day.

    Under the tenure of these members we’ve lost the route partnership, sacked a CEO, lost the helicopter service, sacked a head teacher, and have an airport with no reserves left, have pubs and restaurants closing down, tourism industry shrinking, and they gave the chief officers a hefty pay rise, and god knows what’s left in the council reserves. How big is the council housing list now compared to four years ago? How affordable is a home? Where’s the job opportunities for locals?

    Oh don’t worry about that, we’ve got a new library. Who the **** asked for a new library? I’ll give you a clue what everyone wants….AFFORDABLE TRANSPORT. Bottom line, everytime, every conversation.

    It’s remarkable that in this digital age we now feel more isolated on Scilly than at any other time in recent memory.

    So excuse me if I don’t pat the councillors on the back for saving a couple of hundred quid.

  7. pat hicks February 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    would it not make sense to ask people on each island to help with the ballet, so you would not have to send anyone over plus you would save money on boat transfers etc.
    Just a thought.

  8. LINDYLOU February 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    At last, I congratulate councillors Martin and McCarthy on administrators being held to account. Where on these islands has the person reccomending these rises been for the last year or so. The council need to make cuts on expenditure, not spend more.
    The majority of workers on Scilly earn either on or just above the minimum wage and without whom our islands would not function.

  9. yet another islander February 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    So if you do an election whether you’re a council worker or one of us lesser mortals and you go to St Martins on the boat at 05.30 and get back to St Mary’s let’s say at 11.30, plus one hours training that you’re not going to get paid for and you’re get £165, before tax that gives you a rate of £8.80 an hour. Now pay tax at 20% and take enough food to last all day/evening hardly worth their effort.
    No one’s asked me and at that rate of pay they needn’t bother!

  10. pat hicks February 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I would be happy to work on polling day..
    so please keep me in mind. the extra money would be handy.

  11. Islander February 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Well done you councilors…
    For Standing up for the tax payers.. we are the ones who keep
    forking out for these pay rises, when on the mainland the local authoritys are making cuts left ,right and centre.
    Its also nice to see some jobs go out to tender in the public domain.

  12. Nobby Nobbs February 25, 2013 at 8:10 am

    This is what we like to see, administrators being held to account.
    Great idea to open the job up to people outside the council

    Well done Cllrs McCarthy and Martin!