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Council chief exec get £20k cash boost despite £120m budget cuts
Fury has erupted after figures released show the council’s chief executive received an extra £20,000 while the local authority was cutting millions of pounds from its budget and shedding scores of jobs.
Laughing all the way to the bank: Paul Martin
Details emerged from the council annual accounts for 2012-13 showing council chief executive Paul Martin’s pay, including bonuses and pension payments, rocketed from £254,880 to £274,224.
The council has been accused of double standards as the 7.6 per cent rise appears to contradict a three-year pay freeze for workers, only lifted in 2013-14 to allow for a 1 per cent rise.
Finance director Chris Buss also seemingly received a rise at the same time taking him up to an eye-watering £244,606, including bonuses and pension.
A spokesman for the council explained all apparent extra pay given to Mr Martin during 2012-13 was actually due to his pay appearing as less than it should during 2011-12.
This was due to reduced bonuses calculated from the six months he worked after joining the authority in October 2010.
The council accounts clearly state rises from 2011-12 to 2012-13 came from not just a £10,000 increase in bonus payments but a rise of more than £6,000 on his allocated pay, from £203,136 to £209,340.
The council spokesman reiterated this was due to payment arrears from when he first joined.
She also emphasised he turned down the 1 per cent pay rise offered to other council employees this year.
The news came as union members held a protest against council cuts outside town hall on Tuesday.
Jeremy Travers, Wandsworth Unison, said: “Lots of our members who work for the council are struggling and depending on pay day loans to get through the month.
“It is ridiculously unfair and we have protested today against the job losses and cuts, but this campaign is not going away, it is just going to get louder so we can be heard.”
In 2010, the council revealed it would need to find £55m in cuts by 2014.
But by early 2013, the council admitted an extra £20m of savings needed to found, a total revised once again in December when it was announced an extra £43m in cuts must be found by 2015.
Opposition leader Councillor Rex Osborn said: “I think most residents would be appalled to know council tax is being used to keep Wandsworth’s senior staff gravy train on the tracks, at the same time that crucial frontline services are being cut.
“Reducing the pay of Wandsworth’s CEO and finance director back in line with other councils would provide enough money to restore all the funding for lollipop men and women, or to reopen the closed One O’Clock clubs.”
Cuts have been made to services including lollipop ladies, One O’Clock clubs, adventure playground staff, special needs buses and meals on wheels.
More than 100 jobs have been cut across the council with losses in the housing department, children services and environment and community departments plus dozens of senior positions.
The council’s budget for 2013-14 has not yet been released.
A spokesman said details were likely to be unveiled at the draft budget meeting on March 5.
She said: “Senior executive pay has been reduced by a million pounds since 2010 and that process is continuing. Councils like Wandsworth are a £900m-a-year business and look after more than £3bn of public assets.
“Wandsworth has a proven track record of providing residents with the best value for money services of any local authority in the country and its council tax is currently half the London average, and has been the lowest in the country for the past 20 years.
“That has been made possible by talented and able staff."
Chief executive salary since 2009:
Paul Martin: with pension £274,224; minus pension £230,440.
Paul Martin: with pension £254,880; minus pension £214,210.
Gerald Jones: with pension £227,420; minus pension £191,122.
Gerald Jones: with pension £356,891; minus pension £299,925.
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