Tenants are told that the priority will be improving homes, but the first thing bosses at Cartrefi Conwy housing association did was put up their own wages. Tenants in Wrecsam were right to vote No in 2004 and, judging by feedback from my ward, I'm convinced will vote No again if there is another ballot.
Giving away 11,000 council houses to an outside body would be outsourcing on a grand scale by this council.
Cartrefi Conwy board member quits over 20% pay rise
A HOUSING association board member has quit and another has threatened to follow after senior staff were awarded a huge pay rise.
Melvyn Hill said he resigned from Cartrefi Conwy following the vote to give staff rises of between nine and 20%.
Councillor Chris Hughes said he was also considering his position as he was uncomfortable with some of the decisions being made.
Cartrefi Conwy, a privately owned, not for profit company, took over the ownership of Conwy’s 3,800 council homes last September promising to bring all houses and flats up to national standards by 2012.
Mr Hill said he believed the pay rises – voted through by eight votes to five – were excessive at this stage of the business.
“Cartrefi Conwy has only been trading six months and we are still delivering the promises to the tenants,” he said.
“We should be giving evidence we are providing that delivery – it is putting the cart before the horse.”
Councillor Hughes said of the increases: “I think the constituents have a right to know. Morally I’m quite frustrated by what is going on.”
Cartrefi Conwy took control of Conwy’s council homes following a ballot in November 2007. Just 50.8% voted in favour of the transfer and 49.2% against.
Heading the operation is Conwy’s former housing chief, Andrew Bowden.
The company promised to invest £58 million in repairs and improvements to bring all former council homes up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2012. It will borrow £36 million over the next five years to invest in properties and receive around £4 million annually from the Assembly.
Labour and Llandudno councillor Ronnie Hughes opposed the transfer of housing stock from the council and said he was furious.
“It seems to have got some consultants to look at the wage structure – but why now? There are people waiting for their kitchens, they’ve been promised the earth,” he said. “The wages are going to be paid for by people’s rent.
“I thought the idea was to get the houses up to standard by 2012, not an excuse for people to get a major wage rise.”
A spokesman for Cartrefi Conwy said: “This arrangement covers three years until 2010 as members of the senior team have not had a pay rise since 2007. The board commissioned highly experienced independent consultants to ensure that the whole process was conducted properly and transparently. No members of staff were involved in the process at any stage. The consultants’ recommendations were supported by the board.”