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Why are they paid so much?

Senior politicians have condemned to The Eye the huge pay packets for council chief executives in Wales.

In the latest round of job searches, the role for leading Denbighshire council is advertised with a salary of up to £127,513 to administer an area with a population of just 95,000.

The closing date for applications is on Friday.

A lot of money for a small area

The invitation for applicants for the Chief Executive’s post at next-door Wrexham Borough Council (area population 135,000) has just closed, and advertised a similar salary.

These figures are not much less than the pay for the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, at £134,723, who governs the whole of Wales.

“We can’t go on like this, one Welsh Assembly Member (AM) told us.

What on earth is going on?

“Numbers like these are astonishing, and voters won’t stand for them”.

Another outside Wales said to The Eye:  “What on earth is going on in Wales?!”.

“You’ve got far too many councils, and you are paying bureaucrats far too much.

“We are meant to be living in a time of austerity!”.

Since 1996 there have been 22 councils in Wales.

 

 

Leighton Andrews lost his seat and the plan

In June 2015 the then Public Services Minister in the Welsh Government, Leighton Andrews, unveiled a radical plan to cut the number of councils to eight or nine.

But Mr Andrews lost his Rhondda seat in the 2016 Assembly elections and the plan fell into abeyance.

Yet there is still a widespread belief there are far too many councils in Wales, to administer services for a population of under 3 million.

Carwyn Jones – ‘almost nobody’ believed in it

In October of 2015 Mr Jones conceded the present local authority system was “unsustainable” and said the number of councils would have to be cut.

He said “almost nobody” still believed a 22-council structure should be maintained.

Elsewhere in the UK it is different.

In December 2010 a proposal was approved by South Holland District Council and Breckland District Councils in Lincolnshire and Norfolk respectively, to introduce a shared management structure.

It is different at other councils

When the system went ‘live’ a few months later, the councils emphasised:  the shared management structure has created opportunities and delivered benefits for both Councils, not least year on year savings which equate to more than half a million pounds each”.

Although much cheaper, the service has been largely unaffected.

Services were unaffected in shake up

Officials in the two councils have stressed the protection and resilience of service delivery”.

At least we can be sure of a different kind of delivery in Wales.

Bulging pay packets for council chief executives.

 

Tomorrow – we unveil the winner of our New Year caption competition for a picture of a senior official at Swansea university, where The Eye revealed they had hired a convicted fraudster. 

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The Eye is edited by Phil Parry. Phil is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year.

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