Senior managers set for bumper pay rise - as council seeks to cut £120m from budget (From Salisbury Journal)
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Senior managers set for bumper pay rise - as council seeks to cut £120m from budget
SENIOR managers at Wiltshire Council are set to receive bumper pay rises despite the council being forced to make cutbacks of £120m over the next four years.
Just weeks ago the council accepted more than 250 voluntary redundancies – slashing its workforce by 5.7 per cent - but now it plans to increase top bosses’ salaries by up to 16 per cent.
The move has angered some councillors who say that middle ranking council staff are missing out and the executives’ pay hikes will have an effect on staff morale.
Non-executive level council staff are currently subject to a one per cent pay freeze, as dictated by Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles.
As part of the council’s draft business plan the authority says it needs to save £42.3m in the next financial year with £7.6 million saved through staffing cuts.
However, a recent review of management pay found the council’s senior and associate directors were being paid under the median national salary the council has committed to.
Yesterday, the council’s staffing committee agreed to increase top executive pay by up to 16 per cent with some managers receiving £19,000 more in their annual pay packets.
The total number of service directors at the council is to be reduced from 21 to 18 with the chief executive’s role and three corporate director positions cut.
This means the total budget for senior salaries will fall despite individual managers seeing their pay packets swell.
Council leader Jane Scott said the salary increases were essential to retain staff and recruit new managers at the highest level.
The council is currently trying to recruit a new service director for children and families and has not yet been able to fill the position.
“We risk losing our current staff, but the biggest risk for me is that we can’t recruit new managers. We already have key posts that we can’t recruit to,” said cllr Scott.
“Why would people come to Wiltshire at the very lowest of local government pay rates, and take the highest of responsibilities in local government services?”
However, independent councillor, Jeff Osborn criticised the decision.
“This is a gross inequality and all this will do is add to the greater loss of morale at the council,” he said.
“Staff members in middle-ranking roles are saying this is the final straw. If you were only getting a one per cent pay rise and you looked up and saw your immediate boss getting his salary jacked up by 20 per cent you wouldn’t be happy.”
UKIP councillor, David Pollitt, voted against the move. He said: “As Jane Scott said herself, we have to save £120m and it seems odd that they’re giving more money out.
“I just hope they are as amenable when the time comes for lower-level staff to negotiate their pay.”
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