Plaid’s leaders in Carmarthenshire have expressed their shock and surprise at the level of pay increases which have occurred at the council. It was reported in newspapers reports last week that the Chief Executive’s salary has increased by £26,000 over the past three years. The reports also stated that over a two year period, the number of staff in the £80,000 plus pay bracket has increased from 13 to 21.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Plaid’s leader, said, “Of course it is true that we need to have good people running our services, and Carmarthenshire is fortunate with many of the officers employed. But I really do question whether pay levels need to be as high as they seem to have become in recent years. There has been a great deal of attention paid in recent months to the pay packages of our elected AMs and MPs, but there are an increasing number of chief officers in local government who are paid at a much more generous level.
“At a time when most of the council’s employees are being offered a much more modest 0.5% increase in salaries, I for one cannot justify a much more generous level of increases being awarded to top staff. I am aware that the reports may not have been entirely accurate, and am therefore writing to the Council’s leader, Meryl Gravell, asking for full details of the rises over the past three years. It is unacceptable that the first most councillor know about this is when they read about it in the newspapers.
Cllr Dyfrig Thomas, Plaid’s deputy leader, added, “We need to introduce more transparency over pay, particularly at the senior levels. These pay levels are not being set by the council as a whole, but by the Executive Board meeting in secret. The first most councillors know about the pay levels of the top staff is when we read about it in the newspapers. That cannot be right, and we are asking for the establishment of a pay panel representing all groups on the council to review the pay packages of the council’s most senior officers.”