Scandal-hit Rotherham Council is luring new managers to work for its tarnished brand by offering a 25 percent pay increase despite £23 million cuts elsewhere.
The extra £40,000 per year being offered to the Chief Executive to compensate for the ‘negative publicity’ from the grooming scandal is around double the average yearly salary of a person living in the region.
The Sheffield Telegraph reports that it takes the already generous remuneration up to £200,000; over £50,000 more than the Prime Minister earns.
And new senior managers will also benefit from the bumper pay increase, receiving almost £30,00 extra each on top of their existing salary of £113,384 to put them on par with Mr Cameron’s earnings.
The move was defended by Phil Howe, the director of human resources, who says the ‘market supplement’ was needed to attract suitable candidates because of the reputation of Rotherham council following the Child Sexual Exploitation scandal.
His report said that following the departure of a number of senior managers, permanent replacements will be needed and the additional pay required because of the ‘recent negative publicity surrounding the council’.
The decision was criticised by Councillor Caven Vines, leader of the UKIP group on Rotherham Council, who said he was uncomfortable with the idea of financial incentives.
“If you are advertising a job at whatever figure, anybody applying knows that is the salary,” he said.
“If they are coming up from down south and want to come to Rotherham they are going to have to take a pay cut.”
He added that he was “quite happy” with the salaries advertised, saying: “You are not going to get anybody worth their salt for any less” but said “I just don’t like the idea of offering market supplements.”
The managing director commissioner for the council, which was declared “Not Fit For Purpose” by Louise Casey’s report, said the option to increase salaries for senior managers would be used to attract higher candidates to work in Rotherham.
Stella Manzie said, “It tends to be when you have gone out to advertise once and end up with a very poor field and then you have to check what salary level has been offered at for the post.”
“It is only then you would go for a market supplement.”
Cllr Vines suggested the supplement could be used as an incentive to produce results, saying it would be ‘performance-related’ and only paid if objectives are received as is done in the private sector. But Mr Howe said that type of system was not in operation at Rotherham Council.
The council has been taken over by Government-appointed commissioners after the report by the civil servant Louise Casey who reported they were still ‘in denial’ about the extent of child sexual exploitation in the town.