Council leader rejects proposed 26pc pay rise

Worcester News: Simon Geraghty says he will turn down pay rise Simon Geraghty says he will turn down pay rise

THE leader of Worcester City Council has been handed the chance to get a 26 per cent pay rise – but insists he will turn it down.

Councillor Simon Geraghty will get the chance to vote on his own allowance this Tuesday – with an independent panel suggesting he be handed a record-breaking rise.

Deputy leader Coun Marc Bayliss has also been recommended to receive a 22 per cent increase, while rates for backbench councillors could also rise 5.3 per cent.

A report on the figures admits the “substantial increases” would be “a difficult decision” for the council, which is freezing pay for staff this year and scrapping 26 jobs by 2015.

But it also says Coun Geraghty has “increasing expectations” placed upon him and that ordinary councillors are taking on more and more work.

The recommendations are: 

The basic rate for councillors be increased from £3,990 to £4,200; 

The leader’s special top-up allowance rises from £9,975 to £12,600;

The deputy leader gets a top-up of £7,350, up from £5,985.

Councillors’ allowances in Worcester have been frozen for the last three years. The last time they went up was six per cent in 2010.

Worcester’s Labour group has already revealed it will vote against a rise, saying it would be the wrong time to adopt it, as well as Green Party councillor Neil Laurenson.

Group leader Coun Adrian Gregson said: “The problem is, people think we are paid a lot, and too much, but that is wrong. We don’t get a wage, we get an allowance and a lot of people do this in their own time.

“But we won’t be supporting a rise.”

Coun Geraghty said he would not be taking a 26 per cent rise in his allowance, while Coun Bayliss will vote against his 22 per cent rise.

Coun Geraghty said: “I would not be looking to take the increase in my allowance even if it was approved by the council. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it at this time.”

The report, by the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), says the average basic allowance nationwide is £4,123, meaning Worcester’s politicians are lagging behind. It says the end decision is “ultimately for the council to decide”, and that they could adopt all the recommendations or just some of them.

The IRP is a five-strong panel made up of retired public sector workers and both current and former magistrates.

The full council meeting is at 7pm on Tuesday at the Guildhall.

Comments (4)

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8:25am Sat 16 Feb 13

Landy44 says...

Why is this question even arising? Their income should be performance based. On current performance they are all overpaid!

It's comedy central in our councils.
Why is this question even arising? Their income should be performance based. On current performance they are all overpaid! It's comedy central in our councils. Landy44

9:17am Sat 16 Feb 13

reflector says...

What world does the independent panel that recommended this live in?
Not only should their recommended increases be flatly rejected, the panel, whoever they are, should be sent packing instantly.

My own view is that we should get back to the days when Councillors received only a small attendance allowance plus travelling expenses as they shouldn't be out of pocket. It never was made to be a paid job and shouldn't be now.

A lot of us do voluntary work for the community and wouldn't dream of expecting any payment. As well as helping a charity, I have been a school governor for 23 years and am currently the Chairman, where I am in school for meetings at least two or three times a week. The Governors are responsible for a budget of over £3 million but not one of us has ever claimed a penny in expenses.

Why are Councillors any different and does paying them, produce better decision making? I don't think so.
What world does the independent panel that recommended this live in? Not only should their recommended increases be flatly rejected, the panel, whoever they are, should be sent packing instantly. My own view is that we should get back to the days when Councillors received only a small attendance allowance plus travelling expenses as they shouldn't be out of pocket. It never was made to be a paid job and shouldn't be now. A lot of us do voluntary work for the community and wouldn't dream of expecting any payment. As well as helping a charity, I have been a school governor for 23 years and am currently the Chairman, where I am in school for meetings at least two or three times a week. The Governors are responsible for a budget of over £3 million but not one of us has ever claimed a penny in expenses. Why are Councillors any different and does paying them, produce better decision making? I don't think so. reflector

9:37am Sat 16 Feb 13

wooshman says...

I have no problem for paying an allowance but any rise must be based on the councillors attendance at meetings and committees but I think we are only talking about 20k extra cost perhaps they could make yet another employee redundant to pay for it
I have no problem for paying an allowance but any rise must be based on the councillors attendance at meetings and committees but I think we are only talking about 20k extra cost perhaps they could make yet another employee redundant to pay for it wooshman

7:29pm Sat 16 Feb 13

Doesitmakesense?? says...

They must be the only profession to vote on their own pay rise!! What happened to 'conflict of interest' - politicians always seem to be vote whether they get a pay rise or not - many people haven't had a pay rise this year and weren't given the opportunity to vote!!
They must be the only profession to vote on their own pay rise!! What happened to 'conflict of interest' - politicians always seem to be vote whether they get a pay rise or not - many people haven't had a pay rise this year and weren't given the opportunity to vote!! Doesitmakesense??

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