The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Gregory, will present the Minutes from the Chief Executive’s Remuneration Committee held on 8 December 2020. There is one recommendation at:
Minute 369 [Chief Executive’s Remuneration 2020/21] – to view the Officer’s report – please click on this link – Report and Appendix
(Prior to the commencement of this item, the Chief Executive re-declared his Personal and Pecuniary Interest made at the start of the meeting and requested to be placed in the Waiting Room for the duration of this item).
Following a Point of Order made, the Chairman of the Council, Councillor Mrs Worne, resumed as Chairman for the duration of the meeting.
The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Gregory, presented the minutes from the meeting of the Chief Executive’s (CEO) Remuneration Committee held on 8 December 2020.
Councillor Mrs Gregory referred to a recommendation at Minute 367 [Chief Executive Remuneration – 2020/21] which she duly proposed confirming that the level of performance related pay agreed by the Committee for 2020/21 be 2%. The recommendation was then seconded by Councillor Clayden who confirmed that the Committee had been working to a Policy agreed by the Committee quite a few years ago which would be reviewed next year. The pay increase proposed was in line with the agreed Policy that the Committee worked to.
Requests were made by Councillors Roberts and Gunner for the Chief Executive to be invited back into the meeting so that Councillors could question him and specifically ask if he would be willing to accept a pay freeze in solidarity with other Council staff.
Many Councillors then spoke in support of agreeing a pay freeze which would be the situation for all Council employees in 2021.
Other Councillors spoken firmly against this suggestion because the Chief Executive had a contractual agreement in place with the Council and so the Committee and ultimately the Council had a contractual obligation to approve performance related pay in this way recommended by the Committee. The Interim Monitoring Officer was asked to provide advice.
The Interim Monitoring Officer confirmed this to be the case and that if the Committee had recommended a 2% increase, then this is what the Chief Executive was entitled to receive. If the Chief Executive willingly chose to forego the 2% increase or any part of it after it had been offered to him, that was his right to do, nobody else’s. He was contractually entitled to the calculation proposed and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to find a reason to go against the contractual obligation. The other issue for Members to be aware of was that the Chief Executive had quite righty declared a Personal and Pecuniary Interest in this matter and had left the meeting so as not to influence the debate in any way. To request that he return to the meeting to answer questions would not be acceptable.
There were Councillors who confirmed that they fully supported the advice provided and that the existing Contract in place should not be breached. The Council was within its rights to express any concerns but at the end of the day the agreement in place had to be honoured and left until such was the appropriate time to reconsider any of the arrangements in place.
Following further debate, Councillor Coster confirmed that in line with the Constitution at Motions Without Notice he wished to propose that the question be now put as it was essential for the Council to stick to the contractual obligation in place.
The Interim Monitoring Officer provided advice to the Chairman stating that if she felt that the item has been sufficiently discussed, then she could confirm that the meeting would go to the vote with no need to discuss the item further.
Points of Order were then raised with some Councillors disputing that they should be heard before going to the vote.
The Motion without Notice to proceed to the next business as proposed by Councillor Coster was then seconded by Councillor Dixon.
Points of Clarification were then raised in terms of whether the Chairman of the Committee should respond to the concerns raised by Councillors and if she would agree to put the question of renunciation to the Chief Executive.
Having received further advice from the Interim Monitoring Officer and having received further Points of Order, it was agreed that the concerns of Members would be reflected in the minutes and that Councillor Mrs Gregory, as Chairman of the Committee, would have a private discussion with the Chief Executive to explain the points of concern raised.
A request had been made that the voting on the recommendation be recorded.
Those voting for the recommendation were Councillors Bower, Brooks, Mrs Catterson, Charles, Clayden, Coster, Dixon, Mrs Hamilton, Mrs Haywood, Huntley, Lury, Oliver-Redgate, Mrs Pendleton, and Tilbrook (14). Those voting against were Councillors Bennett, Bicknell, Mrs Cooper, Cooper, Dendle, Gunner and Roberts (7). Councillors Blanchard-Cooper, Buckland, Edwards, Elkins, English, Mrs Gregory, Kelly, Miss Needs, Northeast, Oppler, Stanley, Ms Thurston, Dr Walsh, Mrs Warr, Mrs Worne and Mrs Yeates abstained from voting (16).
That following the Chief Executive’s Appraisal held on 2 November 2020, the level of performance related pay for 2020/21 be 2%, with this being paid from 3 October 2020.
(During the course of the discussion on this item, Councillors Northeast and Blanchard-Cooper declared their Personal Interests. This was because Councillor Northeast was married to a member of staff and because Councillor Blanchard-Cooper had relations who were staff members).