A £15,000 pay rise for Ceredigion council’s chief executive has been approved by full council bringing the top job salary to £130,000.
To restore differentials with chief executive role and other chief officers – which were changed during a restructure in 2018 – the council is recommended to introduce a new pay structure.
The proposed pay scales range from £121,618 to £130,108 for 2020/21 with the current scale ranging from £106,077 to £117,866 with the current chief executive Eifion Evans on point four, the highest level.
Current corporate director pay ranges from £97,294 to £104,086.
The proposal to establish a ratio of 80 per cent, some of which was eroded by previous chief executives not accepting previous pay rises, has been approved by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRP).
Opposing the proposal was leader of the opposition Cllr Ceredig Davies who said it was a “sensitive and contentious” subject, adding “I’m not sure how our other staff will be concerned about this, I’m not sure how many of them have had a 14 per cent increase in the restructuring.”
He said he would not support the increase in one payment but would be more inclined to do so if it were “tapered in over a period of time.”
Cllr John Roberts also voiced concerns, saying “morally it’s very bad timing.”
He added: “It’s not just the chief executive that worked hard during these times but the staff all around him have had huge changes and without the staff nothing would get done.”
The increase required was questioned by Cllr Elizabeth Evans who said “this is not about what the chief executive is worth, we should never be in a position where we have to give a 14 per cent pay rise.”
The restructuring had resulted in three fewer senior posts, deputy leader Cllr Ray Quant, said, but the financial savings were not available at the meeting in response to questions from Cllr Alun Williams.
Cllr Williams said that Ceredigion had traditionally the lowest paid chief executive in Wales and the smallest gap between the highest and lowest paid, while other councillors also highlighted the higher salaries paid in other public sector roles such as at Aberystwyth University.
The public could be “reassured” that the salaries had been approved by the IRP said Cllr Keith Evans as Cllr Lyndon Lloyd reiterated his view that Ceredigion’s workers were low paid, “and we should not forget now the staff down below, especially in social services that have been working on the front line.”
Full council approved the pay rises by 26 votes, with effect from April 1, 2021 with only three votes against and three abstentions.