Important update at the bottom of this post.
Last week I wrote about Rochdale Council's Chief Executive, Jim Taylor, being in line for a £40,000 pay rise. The good news this morning is that, under pressure, the council leader has backed down and the pay rise will not be awarded. However, the leader has not relented on planned rises for other senior staff.
Mark Widdup is Director of Economy and Environment, and currently earns £71,376 a year. He is in line for a pay rise of almost £30,000 taking his salary up to a massive £101,062. Add employer's pension contributions and Employers's National Insurance contributions on to that, and the figure is, of course, much higher.
Mr Widdup isn't the only one though. Linda Fisher, the current Deputy Chief Executive, earns £84,911 a year, and she is line for a pay rise of over £6,000, taking her salary to £91,087.
So although the good news is Mr Taylor isn't going to get an egregious rise, others may just slip under the net at tomorrow's meeting of the full council. Those councillors who said they couldn't support the leader regarding Mr Taylor need to go one stop further and say they are not going to support other large rises for senior staff. I'm sure they know it's the right thing to do.
UPDATE: Although the news of Mr Taylor not getting a pay rise was confirmed by multiple sources, there has been growing confusion over the issue. Simon Danczuk, Rochdale's MP, has been in touch and said, "He is going to get it. It's all smoke and mirrors. Watch outcome of council meeting tomorrow."
If this is true, then just under £100,000 of local taxpayers' money is going to be spent on pay rises for the chief executive and some senior officers. I think the full council meeting tomorrow evening is going to be very lively, unless the council leader plans to silence the opposition.