Cabinet Member and Labour Whip Cllr Maureen Webber valiantly leapt to the defence of her leader on the letters page of the Ponty Observer this week following some well-deserved criticism of the exorbitant salary he takes from the public purse. (which I may have been partly responsible for!)
According to Cllr Webber, Russell Roberts is “uniquely placed to ensure that the needs and concerns of Rhondda Cynon Taf are voiced very clearly”
Well I should think he is. Not many people enjoy a salary of almost £58K from the public purse and are then able to top it up with £24K for Chairing the Police Authority and £13 from the Health Board. Certainly makes him unique in Wales.
Maureen accuses ‘Plaid and Lib Dem Councillors” of a “complete lack of understanding” about how Local Government works and how they are having to suffer because of Government cuts. I cannot speak for Plaid Councillors but I am fairly confident that our Councillors have a very good understanding of how it works. And whilst I am not a Councillor I certainly understand the system, and the way in which the Labour party desperately try and shift the blame for the way in which they constantly short change the public in RCT.
The Independent Remuneration Panel in their report which is out for consultation now state that the position of Leader of a Council should be a full time one and should not allow the time for any extra roles to be taken on. The response which has been submitted from RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats fully supports this view. I take it that the Labour Party will be against this aspect of the report as it would remove Russell from his ‘unique’ position. Will they also oppose the 5% cut in Councillors’ salaries?
I suspect that they will, although it will be interesting to see what excuse they come up with – or rather what excuses they will have the Legal Officer present.
Labour Councillors in RCT are fond of quoting events in Cardiff or other Welsh Lib Dem led Councils when it suits them. Funny then that they haven’t quoted the salary scales for Councillors in those places. Salary scales that are below the maximum in each case.
Rodney Berman and Chris Holley lead Councils in the same salary bracket as RCT as determined by the Independent Remuneration Panel. Neither of them have elected to take the level of salary Russell does. Neither of them serves on let alone Chair the Police Authority, and do not serve on their local health boards.
Explain that one to the public at large Mo.