‘Put council chief on zero-hours contract’, argues UKIP councillor

WH 230514 Adur and Worthing local elections count. Geoff Patmore. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140524-003822001
WH 230514 Adur and Worthing local elections count. Geoff Patmore. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140524-003822001

ADUR and Worthing councils chief executive Alex Bailey should be put on a zero-hours contract or face a one per cent pay rise – not an £11,000 salary increase.

That was UKIP councillor Geoff Patmore’s stance on recommendations to increase Mr Bailey’s salary from £104,000 to £115,000 on Thursday (October 22).

Mr Patmore urged his fellow Adur District Council colleagues to implement the minimal one per cent rise, in line with the national cap on public sector pay.

But his proposal was defeated, with just five in favour compared to 15 against – including his party leader Paul Graysmark.

Mr Patmore, councillor for Widewater ward, said: “All chief officer posts and the chief executive post defers any and all decisions to cabinet members .

“On this basis,of the cabinet making all the decisions, do we actually require a chief executive post that has no decision making requirement? No we don’t, so at a stroke we could save a £140,000 by deleting the post.

“Alternatively the post could be on a zero-hours contract on minimum wage.”

Mr Bailey’s pay award was approved by the joint senior staff committee in September, which was initially recommended to approve a £21,000 increase.

Councillors were then told his salary was among the lowest for comparable authorities in the country, while his recent performance review had seen leaders of both councils praise his work.

Worthing Borough Council green lighted the increase on Tuesday, with Adur following suit despite Mr Patmore’s attempts.

Resident Wayne Green, of Brighton Road, Shoreham, urged Adur members to reject the proposed rise during a public statement at the start of the meeting.

“I recommend a freeze on moral, ethical and political grounds,” he said, also pointing to the wider pay caps.

The same caps were mentioned at Worthing full council by UKIP councillor Charles James, who also opposed the salary increase.

He was told many staff had received incremental rises and pay reviews, which in many cases equated to more than the national freeze.

Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin confirmed this, adding that the ‘majority realise the job Mr Bailey is doing’.

He said: “With this rise, he will still be earning less than the chief executive before last, Ian Lowrie, and that was seven years ago when he retired, which is something.

“He is still in the bottom quartile of shared council chief executives.”

Mr Patmore’s amendment gained support from three of his UKIP colleagues and Labour’s Barry Mear.

Mr Graysmark had taken part and agreed the increase as part of the joint senior staff committee.

The committee’s recommendations had required approval of the joint strategic committee – comprising cabinet members of both councils – and full council support before being rubber stamped.

Among Mr Bailey’s key achievements, listed in a council report, included saving a figure of £330,000 in a senior management restructure, overseeing the transformation of the council’s digital infrastructure and setting the council’s corporate strategy.