Thursday, 8 August 2013

£2,000 to chair a committee meeting - welcome to the Wrecsam gravy train

Today's Leader has an edited version of my letter regarding the controversy surrounding a new payment of £8,000 for a Labour councillor to chair the Audit Committee. Plaid councillor Arfon Jones had made his views clear and provoked a very personal outburst from the council leader.

Unfortunately, the Leader couldn't find space to publish the final two sentences of my letter, so here it is in full. 

 Dear Editor,

I was surprised to read the ridiculous outburst from Wrecsam Labour Council Leader Neil Rogers (Leader, July 31, Page 5) after a perfectly reasonable challenge by Plaid Cymru councillor Arfon Jones. He had challenged  the payment of £2,000 per meeting to the Audit Committee chair. This is impossible to justify at a time of staff cuts, service cuts and wage freezes for frontline staff.

Cllr Rogers is also incorrect in saying that the previous administration did not address such an outrageous allowance. In fact there was no need to address anything as the only standing committee to meet just four times a year was the Audit Committee, which at the time was chaired by the Chair of the Finance and Scrutiny Committee and therefore did not receive any additional allowance.

It was only after the May 2012 election that the Labour-led coalition decided to pay TWO senior salaries, one to the Chair of the new Scrutiny Committee and one to the Chair of the Audit Committee. It shouldn't come as any surprise that the two chairs to benefit are both Labour Councillors.

The Cardiff Labour Government can't seem to pay for a proper rail service between North and South but the Gravy Train is still on track at Wrecsam Council.


Marc Jones
Plaid Cymru


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