Wiltshire Council Fat Cat U-turn

At first, Wiltshire Council Chief Executive Andrew Kerr couldn’t see any problem with his £6,000 pay rise, bringing his annual salary up to £189,000. ‘I've got 15,000 staff,’ he told BBC Points West. ‘This business turns over nearly £1bn a year. We deliver 350-odd different services. It’s a big complex job which I believe justifies the salary that I earn.’ But others begged to differ.

‘Our members’ pay is frozen,’ said a Unison union spokesman. ‘Their increments are likely to be frozen and I can't see them standing back and saying “Well done Mr Kerr, I think you deserve that”.’ He wasn’t the only person to express outrage at the pay increase, at a time when other council workers are being made redundant, and, a few days later, the Wiltshire Council Chief Executive announced a U-turn and said he would not be taking his pay increase.

“I listened to some people at work and I looked at the comments people made online and in blogs,’ said Kerr, ‘and reached the decision not to take the increment. I have also decided it would not be the right thing to do next year either.’

‘I’m delighted he has done the decent thing, which sends the right message to staff,’ said the leader of Wiltshire Council. ‘It’s a shame it took what happened in the media and an outcry by the public to convince him to do the right thing.’

I couldn’t have put it better myself, but then again, it shows it is worth writing those angry emails to websites because, just sometimes, those council fat cats will be reading them late at night and it will prick their overpaid conscience. Well done, Mr Kerr!

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