Sunday 15 July 2007

Tory Seeks and Wins Extra £6000 Pay-Out to Carry Out Adoption Duties

There’s been quite a kerfuffle in the Town Hall since the Annual Budget Meeting, last February and it’s all about councillors' pay. It started when the Tories voted to give themselves an 18% salary rise at that meeting. There was a public backlash and now they say it was all a terrible “mistake”. They’ve stuck to this explanation despite the pay hike being originated and signed off by the Leader of the Council (Con), then agreed by the Cabinet (all Conservatives) then unanimously voted for by all 33 Conservative councillors - who heckled Labour for not supporting it.

So, there were at least three stages of checks and not one of the 33 Tory councillors noticed the pay hike coming their way? I must admit, I find it hard to believe that they could be that incompetent but they assure me they were. Such is their embarrassment at the public’s reaction that they’ve wheeled out Cllr. Harry Phibbs (Con) to write to the newspapers to attack Labour for whipping up the public outcry. The new Tory line is that the money really isn’t that important at all and everyone should have known that all along.

Okay then, but if pay rates aren’t an issue how do they explain that the Conservative Administration has just decided to offer a £6034.00 incentive to encourage Tory Councillors to sit on the Adoptions Panel? They introduced this new cash bonus on June 27th after they apparently found it difficult to recruit any volunteers from their ranks of 33 to maintain this vital role. This money will be paid as a sum above and beyond the salary already received by councillors.

Sitting on the Adoption Panel has always been a humbling duty undertaken by previous Labour and Conservative councillors without the need for any extra cash incentive. So it’s peculiar that the Tory Administration should decide to do this – especially considering the problems they’ve been through recently with their 18% pay rise.

And, who has risen to this call of duty - accepting the £6k golden hello attached? Step forward one Cllr. Harry Phibbs (Con). We wish him well in his position.

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