The editor of weekly paper the Cambs Times has uncovered a series of ‘blunders’that saw councillors attempt to award themselves a 25 per cent pay rise.
The pay rise for Cambridgeshire County Council’s 69 councillors has been put on hold after John Elworthy, the editor of the Archant-owned title, broke the story on the Cambs Times website six hours after its print edition had gone to press.
The story revealed how the council had voted to accept the 25 per cent pay rise in their allowances two days earlier following a review, but broke its own constitution in doing so.
‘I had spent hours trawling through the council’s constitution mainly to find out who had authorised the setting up of the independent review,’said Elworthy.
‘I discovered that the council had simply gone ahead and appointed the independent panel and its chairman and then voted on the recommendations without realising the authorisation should have come from the council’s own standards committee.”
Elworthy said he initially tweeted his concerns but later challenged the council and they admitted their error.
‘The chief executive has emailed all councillors to explain the error and says the buck stops with him,’he said. ‘Meanwhile they’re trying to get hold of the standards committee chairman to get him to agree to the review, retrospectively, and hope all is sorted.
‘However the council has also admitted that even if he agrees they won’t be getting their hands on the extra cash as soon as they’d like: the council’s legal team has now said it can’t be paid until April 2012 at the earliest”.
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