Critics round on pay to officers
REVELATIONS that Peterborough City Council’s seven top officers are being paid a combined £1 million in salaries a year have been criticised by opposition councillors.
The Evening Telegraph revealed yesterday – following the release of the council’s accounts for 2009/10 – that £944,605 was spent on salaries and pension contributions for the senior officers, including chief executive Gillian Beasley.
Leader of the council cllr Marco Cereste defended the salaries, saying they were in line with other local authorities and the officers worked hard for the city. But opposition leaders and MPs for the city now say they strongly believe there should be a review over pay.
Leader of the English Democrats cllr Stephen Goldspink said the city council should be moving towards performance related pay based on corporate objectives, so that senior officers can be monitored on how they are doing.
He said: “It is no good cllr Cereste saying they are doing a good job and they have won the council lots of awards if the people on the street don’t agree. This way, the public would be able to see what is going on and make up their minds for themselves whether the pay is justified.”
Leader of the Labour group in Peterborough, Councillor Nazim Khan said: “I feel that the amount Gillian Beasley is paid, is justified – she does a lot of good work for the city. However, the others I don’t agree with.”
He said director of operations Paul Phillipson did not have many frontline services to oversee as many have been outsourced.
He added: “We have hardly any frontline services and, with city services and IT soon to be privatised, what is there apart from planning and neighbourhoods for Paul Phillipson to do?”
Liberal Democrat, Councillor Nick Sandford said he felt that the officers should, at the very least, take a pay freeze.
MP for Peterborough, Stewart Jackson, added: “The leader of the council and his cabinet must remember that we are going through a very difficult period with ordinary families having to tighten their belts and the prospect of further cuts in public spending, when paying senior officers.”
Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, said today’s emergency budget may result in public sector pay changes.
He said: “There are tough times ahead for everyone, including top public sector workers. The Conservatives have already spoken about a public sector pay freeze, but we will have to wait and see what is in the Chancellor’s Emergency Budget.”