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WORKING GROUP COULD RECOMMEND£60,000 A YEAR FOR WELSH COUNCIL LEADERS

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The working group being set up by the Welsh assembly to decide how much councillors should be paid may end up by de...
The working group being set up by the Welsh assembly to decide how much councillors should be paid may end up by deciding that Russell Goodway, the lord mayor of Cardiff CC, is actually worth the£58,000 a year he has just given up, according to The Western Mail (15 April, p8).

The group, set up with the Welsh Local Government Association, will consist of five AMs and an equivalent number of councillors. An assembly spokesman said that it will not be set up until after the assembly returns from holidays on 8 May, although it would be expected to complete its deliberations by June.

Some AMs are worried that the group could end up allowing a major city such as Cardiff to pay its leaders similar sums to that earmarked for Mr Goodway.

Jonathan Morgan, Conservative AM for south central, said: 'My concern is that the guidelines which this group will recommend will be very broad to allow the top salary to be set at£60,000 or even higher.

This could happen because the group will be able to consider aspects which were not taken into account by the previous study - the Boyne report - which recommended a maximum payment of£28,150.

First, it would be able to consider whether it should base its recommendations on the salary of a professional person, such as a lawyer or accountant, rather than on the average working wage for Wales used by the Boyne repot.

It will also be able to base its payments on the far greater amount of work that senior councillors will be engaged in under the new cabinet system.

Third, local government secretary Peter Law accepts that councillors deserve a much better deal than Boyne offered them.

Colin Jones, of the Welsh Local Government Association, said: 'There will be a full review taking place of all aspects, including recognising the new responsibilities which councillors will have under the new Local Government Bill.'

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