The level of pay rise awarded to the chief executive of Arun District Council has been tacitly criticised by Lib Dems.
Nigel Lynn, who has held the top job on the council since 2011, has been given a 2.5 per cent performance-related increase in his remuneration package.
He is currently paid £119, 936 a year, meaning he will receive nearly £3,000 a year extra, which will be backdated to October.
The increase was agreed by Full Council on Wednesday night (January 9), but not before Lib Dem councillors expressed their unease.
Daniel Purchese (LDem, Beach) said he had a problem with the policy of linking the chief executive’s annual pay rise to the scoring of his appraisal.
He described how the chief executive held a personal contract, while other council staff had their scales negotiated nationally by the NJC, adding: “Over the last few years the percentage increases have been significantly lower than that of the chief executive.”
He continued: “The chief executive has done a good job but what about the staff here who do a brilliant job? There is no performance related pay for them.”
Meanwhile Francis Oppler (LDem, Orchard) added: “The key thing is about the perception of fairness and whether the majority group accepts this or not the staff over the last few years have been let down for the reasons that have been stated.”
He described how when the last chief executive retired it was said ‘we would not let the chief executive’s salary run away the same way the previous one had done’. Cllr Oppler asked: “Where is that stance now?”
He added: “The staff who score excellent ratings in their appraisals and get no bonuses I find this very frustrating and disappointing and next time we need to appoint a chief executive we need to link any future rises with what the staff get and if they do not accept it then they do not get the job.”
Andy Cooper (Con, Angmering & Findon) said he was ‘shocked and stunned’ at the opposition as he pointed out the Lib Dems had voted against the last budget, which included pay rises for staff.
However Cllr Purchese pointed out his group was voting against the budget as a whole the with staff pay scales agreed nationally.
Terry Chapman (Con, East Preston), who sits on the chief executive remuneration committee, reiterated that council staff pay rises were negotiated nationally, while the chief executive held a personal contract and under policy any increases were linked to the outcome of his appraisal.
The recommendations were passed with the Lib Dems voting against, while there were several abstentions on the Tory benches.
Mr Lynn left the council chamber during the deliberations.
Last year he received a similar 2.5 per cent pay rise, while the year before that he saw his remuneration package increase by more than £6,000 so that it was more comparable with surrounding local authorities.