Council’s top earners rise in number and wage rates
There are more managers than ever ”
TOP salaries at Argyll and Bute Council are on the increase with 121 people now earning more than £ 50,000 and one member of staff earning almost £125,000.
At the other end of the pay scale, a number of posts have remained unfilled throughout the year to make savings in budgets.
The unaudited annual accounts published for last week’s full council meeting show there are 80 officers earning up to £ 55,000.
On top of that, 13 officers earn up to £ 60,000, six earn up to £ 65,000, two earn up to £70,000, 13 earn up to £75,000, one person earns up to £ 80,000, two people earn up to £ 85,000, one person earns up to £95,000 and two people earn up to £100,000, and one person earns £124,999.
Cleland Sneddon, chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council, earned £120,147 – £20,000 more than the chief executive the previous year.
These figures do not include annual pension payments. The contribution rates for pensions of anyone on more than £45,800 is 12 per cent of the salary – in the case of the chief executive this means he has an annual in-year pension contribution of £ 22,214, a rise of almost £4,000 from the previous year. His pension lump sum would be £ 84,582, a rise of almost £16,000.
At the bottom end of the salary scale, anyone earning up to £ 20,500 will have a five per cent pension contribution.
The council had an underspend in its annual accounts of £1.038 million. Explaining the surplus, in a report, Kirsty Flanagan, head of strategic finance, said: ‘ The year- end underspend was largely expected and planned for during the year.
‘For example, the additional savings were generated during the year as a consequence of deliberate decisions not to fill posts which became vacant during the year and had been identified for removal as service choices savings during 2017/18.’
In education, where a number of ‘efficiency savings’ saw a cut to support hours for pupils with extra support needs, the budget had a small underspend of £13,139. The overall education budget was £73,824,646. In refuse collection services, there was an underspend of £73,729.
Last week at Oban Community Council, the spokesman for environment, development and infrastructure Councillor Roddy McCuish said a full review of bin collections in Oban, Lorn and the Isles should take place as soon as possible as it ‘doesn’t seem to be working’.
The underspend may indicate the financial ability of the council to allocate extra collection dates to places such as Soroba and Oban town centre.
There were 59 compulsory redundancies and ‘other exits’ at the local authority costing £1,033,208. These ‘exit packages’ include redundancy payments, pension strain and compulsory lump sum payments.
A former union representative for Argyll and Bute, who would not be named, said: ‘The gap between those on the lowest pay with the highest workloads, who are now covering two or even three jobs, is on the increase.
‘At the other end of the scale, there are more managers than ever.
‘It is all very well to leave posts unfilled – but the problem is that the workload goes onto someone at the bottom of the ladder, not the top.’
A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘The council adheres to local and national pay agreements to attract and retain skilled employees and to ensure our staff are paid fairly for the work they do.
‘Implementing the nationally-agreed local government pay award of one per cent, overtime and allowances, increased earn- ings for a small number of employees to more than £ 50,000.’
The scales of councillors’ pay were also published last week. Full details of these are on The
Oban Times website. Papers show basic councillor salaries increased by £10,000 in total, the provost’s and leader’s salaries increased by £1,000, while senior councillors’ salaries and other expenses reduced by £47,000.