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 The resultant savings to be used to fund council services that are under threat through funding being withdrawn."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."