Scilly Isles costly Chief Executive

Local residents on the Scilly Islands are getting restive about their Chief Executive Philip Hygate trousering generous sums of taxpayers’ money. It is bad enough that he was paid a total package of £104,854, including pension contributions, for 2010-11. That is nearly £50 a year for each of the islands 2,100 inhabitants. Now, it is emerges that the CEO’s salary is set to rocket to £110,000. His basic salary in 2010 was £73,000 and now it’s gone up to £88,000—that’s a whopping 22% increase in two years!

Over that period, only his fellow Chief Officers have had double digit rises. The rest of the staff, with one or two exceptions, have been on a pay freeze. The latest increase went through in April by five votes to four at a special council meeting where attendance was low because of stormy weather making it difficult for members who didn’t live on the main island to attend.

Last month, irritated members got their own back at the Annual Council session by voting out the Vice Chair of Council by nine votes to six. She had chaired the April meeting and her vote broke the tie there. It was her casting vote back in 2010 that first secured Mr Hygate and his Chief Officers colleagues their spurious £4500 Market Factor Supplement on top of a 12% increase the day before the General Election.  She has recently said it was an ‘ill-advised way of bolstering pay levels to the correct level for the job’ and there is ‘no market forces element in the new pay.’ She also said ‘it’s easier to go with the popular vote, but that isn’t always on the side of right.’ That’s for sure.

There is concern also that Mr Hygate is the Monitoring Officer of the Council’s Standards Committee, which locals claim can be used to intimidate councillors. That role should usually be taken by another senior council officer.

Such is local discontent with Mr Hygate that locals recently signed a motion wishing to scrap the post of Chief Executive and replace it with an Executive Mayor. These are revolutionary times in the Scilly Islands.

Tim Newark, Bath and South-West TaxPayers’ Alliance

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