Comment: Arun’s public debate over chief executive’s pay a brighter day

Arun Civic Centre ENGSUS00120130227103532
Arun Civic Centre ENGSUS00120130227103532

A year ago, this newspaper declared a ‘dark day’ in Arun’s history.

A discussion over council chief Nigel Lynn’s pay was held in private, without the chance for press or public to make representations against the exclusion. But after stinging criticism, this year the storm clouds lifted.

Having followed the same format since 2011, 2016 was the year of change for the chief executive’s remuneration committee.

Barring a short, private debate over Mr Lynn’s appraisal, the committee met in public.

This meant residents had access to crucial details, including a background report, full debate over councillors’ reasoning and instant confirmation of the salary to be recommended to full council.

Readers will make up their own minds as to whether Mr Lynn’s proposed pay increase, at a time when the authority seeks to save £4million by 2020, is justified.

But we welcome the common sense format, which is far more transparent than the unknowns of a confidential conversation.

Improvements can always be achieved. A list of the chief executive’s main achievements which justified his performance being labelled ‘exceptional’ would further boost openness.

Regardless, this year’s alterations were a key change.

This newspaper will always hold public officials to account. It was proud to highlight the issues of 2015, which it perceived as misguided.

It will, however, give praise where it is due.

What do you think of the committee’s recommendation? Click here for the full story of Tuesday’s meeting.