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Three Rivers District Council chiefs awarded pay rises
The three highest paid officials at Three Rivers District Council are set to see their salaries rise, despite objections from opposition politicians.
This week, the ruling Liberal Democrats and the opposition Labour group voted for a one per cent increase in the pay of the chief executive and two senior directors whose basic salaries range from £116,000 to £73,000.
The vote comes after other council staff were also awarded a one per cent pay increase following a blanket freeze on public sector pay since 2009.
However, the decision was opposed by Conservative councillors who argued senior council managers forgo the pay rise this year while other district staff face further squeezes on their work conditions.
Conservative leader Ralph Sangster, who represents Moor Park, said: "The staff are undergoing a change in terms and conditions and, given that we are half way through the current financial year anyway, we feel it would be a leadership gesture on behalf of both the senior staff and our members that we should continue to show restraint and not increase pay for senior staff and members in the current year, but wait until the new financial year in March and then reconsider."
He added: "It would show a measure of recognition by senior staff and the members that this is a time when tensions might be a little high."
Yet leader of the council, Ann Shaw, said the two issues "are quite separate to each other and are not related".
The council agreed that chief executive, Steven Halls, the director of community and environmental services, Geof Muggeridge, and the director of finance chief executive, Joanne Wagstaffe, should receive a one per cent increase.
The pay boost was discussed at the Liberal Democrat-run council’s executive meeting on Monday night.
It will affect Dr Halls, who works four days a week at the district council, and last year received a basic salary of £116,181, plus £22,307 in pension contributions and £1,239 in expenses.
The two other officials in line for a pay rise are Mr Muggeridge and Ms Wagstaffe, who both earn between £73,871 and £87,136.
The pay increase will be backdated to April.
Councillor Shaw said the only reason the council’s top officers did not received the pay increase at the same time as other officers was because of "transparency".
She said the pay rise merely "ensures parity with all other council employees" and that it’s a "question of respect and the responsibility of the job they (the chief officers) do".
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