Just over a year ago, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council awarded large inflation busting rises for senior staff. The rationale was it would encourage those officers to stay with the council and encourage others to join the merry-go-round and move to East Yorkshire.
Just over a year later, two senior officers, Huw Roberts and Barry Adams, have opted to take early retirement and received much higher pensions as a result of their pay rises. Now a third wishes to leave the authority.
Sue Lockwood, Director of Corporate Resources, has applied for early retirement, and today, in a behind-closed-doors meeting, the East Riding Council cabinet approved an outrageous payment of £364,205 to her pension fund. Naturally, the public anger at this impending payment is great, and yesterday I wrote to all members of the cabinet urging them not to agree to this move. Predictably, the silence was deafening.
Instead of being ashamed, the council leadership are not happy with the councillor who leaked this story to the Yorkshire Post last week, and are making clear if anything like this happens again, they will be in front of the standards board. So it seems as if taxpayers in the East Riding do not have a right to know how their money is being spent. The political elite feel they know what’s best for the rest of us and the little we know, the better.
If you live in the East Riding and are struggling to pay your council tax bills and are struggling to pay appropriate payments to your private pension fund, write to the leader, Cllr Stephen Parnaby and tell him what you think of this decision. Also, come and join us in the Taxpayers’ Alliance. We are one organisation who will not take you for granted and will welcome you to our campaign for better government and lower taxes.
In 2002, people marched through the streets of Beverley, protesting against the salary increase of the then chief executive, Darryl Stephenson, the husband of Sue Lockwood. Perhaps the only way East Riding Council will take our concerns seriously is if we march again. Watch this space.