Coun­cil’s top earn­ers rise in num­ber and wage rates

The Oban Times - - Front Page - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

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

There are more man­agers than ever

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 earn­ings 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.

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