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  • Writer's pictureDavid Taylor

Did Councillors Vote For Exec Pay Rise?

March 27th saw a meeting of all Cllrs, at one of the regular Council meetings. The agenda featured the usual set of 15 questions from opposition parties, some reports, and a motion tabled by the Conservatives.


It was, for the most part, a very uneventful meeting. But it wasn't without it's quirks.


According to some reports, Councillors were asked to approve a pay-rise for the Chief Executive. When it came to the motion, it was passed without any debate. All Cllrs voted in favour, except for the Labour Deputy Mayor.


Below I dive into the Exec pay, the motion, and the questions that I asked.


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Executive Pay

According to reports in local press, Councillors were asked to vote on giving the Chief Executive and other senior Council staff a pay rise. According to the reports, the Chief Executive's pay was due to be set at just under £200k.


Havering Council's website currently has the Chief Executive on a pay scale of £178k - £185k. Other senior staff are on a pay scale of £150k - £169k.


At the start of the council meeting, the Chief Executive made a statement to Councillors. His statement informed us that we would not be voting to give him a pay rise and that if it did he would leave the room. What we were voting on, we were told, was to acknowledge a report.


Confusingly, when responding to local press, Havering Council appeared to confirm the rise.


Viewing the report, it sets out the Council's Pay Policy Statement for 2024/25. It references a pay-scale for the Chief Executive that ranges from £189k - £196k. If this was to become the Chief Executive's pay, and the council website be correct with the current range, then the Chief Executive would receive a minimum of a £4k pay rise, but potentially much higher.


When it came to this part of the meeting, Councillors were asked to agree the report without a vote. Most Councillors vocalised agreement with this and the Mayor moved on.


I, unsure about whether we were approving a pay-rise or not, did not support this. I will need further information about what was agreed, if anything, at the meeting. The front page of the report, in my opinion, states that this policy sets out the renumeration (pay) of the Chief Executive.


View the full report, item 8, HERE



 

My Questions

As usual, the opposition parties are allowed to ask a total of 15 questions between them. I was granted 4 questions.


  1. Can you cabinet member confirm whether the council has completed the sale of Como Street Car park to Mercury Land Holdings and the receipt received?


The short answer is that, no, the land has not yet been sold. Despite the council being both the party selling the land, and owning the company that will but the land, it has failed to complete this transaction so far.


With nearly 60 residents in Lower Mawneys objecting to the council's plans for a 12 storey tower-block on the site, I asked the Cabinet Member to come meet with the residents. He agreed.


2.Can the Cabinet Member confirm the full terms of the recent Capitalisation Directive, including the interest rate, length of repayment period, and any additional requests made by government?


The Cabinet member confirmed that they didn't have the full details yet, as the terms were only indicative. However, he promised to make the terms known to the public as soon as they were available.


I asked for an indication as to when that may happen and, unfortunately, this was not answered by the Cabinet Member. However, he again indicated that the they would be transparent with the information.


3. Can the council please confirm if Havering Council has adopted Compass Street, off of North Street and whether this junction is required to be updated from a crossover?


The response I got referenced a mistake in my naming of the street, which is in fact Compass Way. The Cabinet Member confirmed that he has asked for the site to be inspected and gave some background which revealed planning permission was originally denied for the site, due to access issues.


In my follow-up, I asked the Cabinet Member if he would join me in writing to the developer and asking for upgrades. Unfortunately, he did not answer this and again referenced an inspection.


4. A recent Cabinet report showed a £1.8m overspend in relation to parking, driven by an underachievement of PCN income. Can the cabinet member confirm if the council plan to increase their parking enforcement activity in order to meet next year’s target and prevent further borrowing having to take place as a result of a failure to meet the target?


I asked this question as there have been numerous reports of overly strict parking enforcement. Unfortunately, the Cabinet Member disagrees and suggested that there should be no grey areas.


 

All agreed - except one.

This was one of the strangest parts of the meeting, as Conservatives has tabled a motion calling on the government to give Havering a grant instead of a loan and no one had tabled an amendment.


I prepared a speech, as always, and was ready to talk about how we must put up a robust campaign to convince the government to sort Havering's finances, seeing as we keep being told that it wasn't our fault we are in this mess.


Instead, we went straight to a vote. Every Councillor voted in favour of the amendment. Except for the Labour Deputy Mayor (Cllr Pay Brown) who voted against it and shrugged her shoulders at the result.


Only Cllr Brown will know why she doesn't want Havering to get the funding as a grant, instead of an expensive loan. Perhaps party politics got in the way?


The motion read:


This chamber calls on the council to release to the public the full letters, from the Government Ministers and from the Leader, regarding the Capitalisation Directive. The chamber calls on the Government to provide the funding as a grant instead of a loan.



1 commento


edward_prypr
08 apr

I would think that the chief executive would forgoe a pay rise as the Council needs all the money it can get plus the cost of living crisis residents are relying upon the likes of food banks to try to feed their children. It would be a nice jesture to refuse a rise.

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