Rochdale Council raised Council Tax last year by 3.5 per cent last year, and I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't try to increase Council Tax again next April. Despite these increases, a pay rise of £40,000 for the chief executive has been recommended, with other senior officers in line for whopping increases.
The current Chief Executive, Jim Taylor, is the lowest paid council boss in Greater Manchester. Struggling to live on a meagre £130,000 a year, he will see his salary rise to £170,000. This, of course, is just the headline figure. When you factor in employer's pension contributions and employer's National Insurance contributions, the true cost of the increase to taxpayers is over £50,000.
Last year, the council leader, Cllr Colin Lambert, boasted he had appointed a new Chief Executive on a lower salary than his predecessor. So what's changed? He should be proud of the fact he has kept the cost of senior salaries down. If Mr Taylor thought the salary on offer last year was too low, he wouldn't have applied for the job. It's a simple as that.
Those at the top should lead by example. Council staff are not receiving bumper pay rises, and some are facing redundancy. The majority of council staff in Rochdale do not earn £40,000 a year. It is simply unbelievable that Cllr Lambert thinks it's right to award a pay rise of the that amount.
Come on Cllr Lambert: think again, do the right thing, and take this proposal off the table before it reaches full council next week.