Leicestershire councillors to vet pay for top jobs
Civil servant appointments on salaries of more than £100,000 will have to be approved by councillors under a new regime at County Hall.
Members at County Hall are set to approve a new pay policy for officials tomorrow.
Until now, chief officers have been able to approve large salaries for new appointments – usually after informal discussions with the elected leader.
From April 1, an employment committee of councillors will have to consider any six-figure packages.
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The move, suggested by the Government, is designed to increase transparency and end the practice of major pay decisions being made behind closed doors.
Leicestershire County Council currently employs five officers on salaries in excess of £100,000 – excluding head teachers.
Chief executive John Sinnott is paid £191,000 and director of corporate resources Brian Roberts is on £147,000.
Conservative deputy council leader and finance spokesman, Councillor Byron Rhodes, said: "It will ensure salaries do not get thrown into the stratosphere. It is about giving councillors more say.
"On the other hand, we will pay whatever we need to get the people we need to do a job for the county council."
Coun Rhodes said he would take a dim view of any attempt to create posts on salaries of just under £100,000, thus avoiding the threshold for them to be considered by councillors.
Mr Sinnott said: "The chances of the county council recruiting anyone on a salary of more than £100,000 are remote."
Liberal Democrat group leader Simon Galton said: "Councillors have always had a say in this kind of thing informally.
"Group leaders would be called in for informal chats about these decisions but they would happen behind closed doors.
"This will make things more transparent. I welcome that.
"There are occasions where there has been salary inflation because of copy-catting – a council puts up the pay for a job and another does the same because they don't want to lose the person they have.
"My view is if a council official would want to move to another authority for an extra £20,000 a year, let them."