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Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 23:08 GMT
Party backs council leader's pay rise

Cardiff County Hall The report suggested rises for eight senior Cardiff councillors

Members of the Cardiff Labour Group have rallied behind Leader Russell Goodway despite controversy over a massive pay increase awarded to him.

Labour members were expected to ask Mr Goodway to justify the nearly 60,000 package at a private meeting on Tuesday night.

Before the meeting members were calling for answers - both from Mr Goodway and the Independent Commission which recommended the pay increases for eight senior councillors.

But emerging from behind closed doors the chairman of the Cardiff County Labour Group, Mike Payne, sprung to the defence of Mr Goodway.

Coun Russell Goodway Russell Goodway: Faced questioning from party
Mr Payne then went on to attack the opposition parties in Cardiff, saying they had acted hypocritically in condemning a report and process for which they had previously voted unanimously.

A report by an independent commission looking at pay scales for Cardiff County Council recommended that council leader Russell Goodway should have his salary almost doubled to nearly 60,000.

The increase would make him one of the highest paid council chiefs in the UK.

The commission's controversial report also recommended pay increases for eight senior councillors including Councillor Goodway, who is also Lord Mayor of Cardiff.

'Democratic tradition'

The party's chairman Mike Payne told BBC Wales that the "open and democratic" tradition of the party meant that members had a right to ask questions.

"We want people to have the opportunity to express all their concerns and to get the information they require to defend the party's position," said Mr Payne.

Under the commission's recommendation, Councillor Goodway will get 58,000 a year.

The Deputy Lord Mayor will get 38,610, while six deputy mayors will get 30,600.

'Don't take money'

The proposals have provoked anger elsewhere within the Labour Party.

Cardiff North Labour MP Julie Morgan warned Coun Goodway that it would put people's backs up if the proposed allowances were introduced.

"Don't take the money," she urged.

She said the councillors should wait until a report by an Assembly and Welsh Local Government Association Working Party was complete.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jenny Randerson also questioned the necessity for such large pay rises.

Members of the public service union Unison warned they may take legal action if the councillors' pay rise goes ahead.


They are angry that the rises have come at a time when the council has cut 60 jobs.

Pay review chairman Ewart Parkinson said big pay increases would be given to those councillors with bigger responsibilities.

Councillor Goodway has refused to say how many days a week he will devote to Cardiff Council for his rise.

Unison spokesman Russell King said that in a climate of budget cuts of 2m and staff redundancies, the possibility of industrial action was "inevitable".

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See also:
22 Dec 99 |  Wales
Party bid to cap Goodway allowances
17 Dec 99 |  Wales
Action threat over 2m council cuts
15 Dec 99 |  Wales
Cardiff councillors set for big pay day

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