Chauffeur driven council papers adding insult to injury
On Monday evening papers were hand delivered to Councillors by one of the Council's chauffeurs for Wednesday's Council meeting. The papers referred to a decision made by the Labour Cabinet last month to, as they put it, review the Council's senior management structure.
The Labour press release said that this would save a substantial amount of money by streamlining the management of the Council - something no one would argue is necessary. It failed to mention that this would also result in substantial pay rises for several people - at least 15% in most cases amounting to a minimum increase of £11,000 a year.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell says he welcomes the fact that they have decided to at least run it past the full Council, albeit a month late but that in the current financial climate questions have to be asked about whether such salary increases can be justified.
"I have no problem with rearranging management responsibilities, we have said for some time that the management structure is top heavy, but with cuts being made across many front line and valued services to hand out such increases is in poor taste.
"I understand the concept that if some senior managers are not being replaced others have to take on extra responsibility, but are they really taking on enough to justify such increases, especially when services are being cut?
"To add insult to injury they are hand delivering letters to Councillors - how much has that cost in fuel and staff time?
"The issue is yet again to be discussed behind closed doors, although anyone who cares to look online at the Cabinet decision notices for 23rd September will know exactly which Officers are involved and so I cannot see the need for such secrecy. Unless of course it is to keep the Labour bickering out of the public eye as there are a number of Labour back benchers not happy at all about this."
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts says the public may well wonder how much extra work is involved for some of these officers given that cuts have been substantial in some departments.
"Take the PR and Strategy department for instance. The Council have decided to stop production of the Outlook magazine which was part of that department. They have closed the Muni and the Cynon Valley Museum, and pulled the plug on the Big Weekend.
"That would suggest there is a lot less going on in that department than previously, so why should the Head of the department receive such a hefty pay rise?
"Some responsibilities have been transferred over to him from the members' service department but not enough, surely, to balance what has been removed."