Row grows over councillors' £6,000 payments
August 14, 2012
RulingTories have dismissed claims by Liberal Democrats they breached council policy over non-executive director payments.
They say procedure was followed to the letter in the decision to award payments of more than £6,000 to councillors acting as non-executive directors on three council-owned companies. But Lib Dems maintain the matter was ‘sprung’ on them at the executive meeting on July 26 and have issued a formal challenge, maintaining Conservatives are ‘riding roughshod’ over procedure.
Cllr David Lee, leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said he had no apologies to make over the way the decision was taken. He said it would be madness to ask any shareholder representative non-executive directors to put their personal position at risk for no pay.
The row involves non-executive director posts at social care provider Optalis, town centre regeneration company Wokingham Enterprises Ltd and affordable housing provider, Wokingham Housing Ltd.
Cllr Lindsay Ferris, Lib Dem member for Twyford, said the Conservative group did not reveal details of the plan to pay councillors £6,095 at the full council meeting in July when other payments were discussed. He said: “I think it has been sprung on us.” However Cllr Lee said it was stated that payment for non-executive directors was not within the remit of the remuneration panel, hence the reason it was not included at the full council meeting.
“Optalis is projecting to make substantial profits by selling its services to other authorities for the benefit of Wokingham people. The shareholder representative non-executive directors are paid an appropriate amount.”
Cllr Ferris said Lib Dems wanted the issue raised at the Overview & Scrutiny Management Committee on August 23 and referred back to the Executive.