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'Jobs for the boys' claim as 4 Swansea councillors set to get more than £8,000 extra to take charge of meetings

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 10, 2014

Comments (33)

SWANSEA Council leader David Phillips is to appoint four extra committee chairs – who will receive an extra £8,700 a year each.

The move has sparked a fierce political row, with accusations he is providing "jobs for the boys" and the money would be better used protecting services.

Opposition parties claim it works out at £2,175 per meeting for those appointed.

But Mr Phillips said the positions were not new, just ones he had not filled previously.

He said they would be vital in driving Labour's plans for the city forward.

During a heated council meeting he said: "These committees will focus on key policy areas, they aren't new and I have discussed many of them before, but they include tackling poverty, making sure each child has the best start and continued regeneration of the city centre.

"I have said before on numerous occasions that the unfilled existing four positions of chairs of committees would eventually be filled when the time was right. The time is now.

"These four positions are not being allocated to those members who need the money, nor to stitch up a rag tag bag of political parties, Independents and Liberal Democrats.

"These four positions are open to all councillors irrespective of party but will be awarded on merit and performance in a formal interview process."

An opposition amendment was circulated, which said: "We ask the council not to pay senior salaries to the four proposed chairs of the executive support committees. The resultant savings to be used to fund council services that are under threat through funding being withdrawn."

However, this was defeated.

Lib Dem leader Chris Holley claimed the positions would just give Labour councillors extra allowances.

He said the people chosen would only chair four meetings a year, which worked out at £2,175 per meeting.

Mr Holley said: "I understand that the role of cabinet member is in many cases a very difficult and time- consuming post but if you cannot or will not commit to that obligation then you should not put yourself forward for the post, even when you also work outside the council.

"These roles that are being created are not for non-Labour members. It is a joke. If you read the role description it will never go to a non-Labour member as part of the description says the chairs will drive through the Labour party's manifesto and put together proposals for the 2017 Labour manifesto."

Wendy Fitzgerald, leader of the Independents, said: "This is just jobs for the close friends of the leader to keep them on his side. It seems inappropriate for these roles given the economic climate."

Speaking after the meeting Labour Party member Colin John, of Sandfields, said he felt the appointments were "jobs for the boys", and called on prominent Labour politicians in the region to make their views known about the proposals.

Mr John said: "If this was a Lib-Dem or Tory council in Swansea, the Labour Party would be up in arms about it."

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  • jamesuk2011  |  May 17 2014, 8:25AM

    Agree with chariot. Never have I met such an arrogant leader as the one we currently have. The council is run like a failed business that just keeps draining the public to prop it up.

    |   1
  • charioteer17  |  May 12 2014, 12:33PM

    Lezz_T The council was controlled by a coalition of Lib Dems and independents. It was Lib-Dem led...a big difference...they did not have a controlling majority. The independents must take some responsibility for the poor performance of the council then.

  • Lezz_T  |  May 11 2014, 1:31PM

    Angry_dunvant, You must have the memory span of a goldfish. The previous council was Lib-Dem controlled.

    |   3
  • williamwaun  |  May 11 2014, 11:46AM

    Labour campaigns on the cost of living then put council tax up 5% this year. Makes sense...NOT...

    |   8
  • charioteer17  |  May 11 2014, 8:52AM

    David Phillips is arrogant, self serving and thinks he is the man in charge of a dictatorship. The Liberal and independents when running Swansea looked after themselves and made massive cock ups. Labour is now doing the same. Plaid and the Greens are a joke, the Tories stand no chance. Who do we vote for as an alternative?

    |   10
  • Angry_dunvant  |  May 11 2014, 12:58AM

    The problem with swansea is that itn has been a labour stronghold for sa far back as i can remember. The brainlees masses still vote them in term after term! If you intend to vote for them, then just don't vote! it would be interesting to see what the result would be then.

    |   2
  • SAswan  |  May 10 2014, 11:11PM

    Regeneration ? What regenearation ? Swansea has totally failed in delivering any major transforming projects other than soulless blocks of flats and offices on prime waterside sites. Anything groundbreaking or successfull for swansea and the councillors bash it, meddle in it ,vote against it or try and kill it off.

    |   13
  • Lewis99  |  May 10 2014, 10:19PM

    Imagine we were allowed a referendum on whether we wanted political councillors running our Local Authority. Also why do we need a Mayor? Can we vote to delete this civic office?

    |   10
  • Garrich  |  May 10 2014, 9:10PM

    Labour in Swansea are beginning to look and sound a lot like the arrogant, self-serving bunch they replaced. Everyone is equal as long as they come first.

    |   13
  • mdcurran  |  May 10 2014, 7:09PM

    Anybody running for labour next year will succeed - such is the complancency of these constituencies.

    |   16