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Macclesfield Local Service Delivery chairman should get £5,000, says pay watchdog

The chairman of a committee which held just four meetings should be given £5,000 the council's pay watchdog has said.

The chairman of a committee which held just four meetings should be given £5,000 the council's pay watchdog has said.

The Macclesfield Local Service Delivery was set up last year as the town didn't have a town or parish council.

The authority's independent remuneration panel has now said the committee's chairman should receive £5,000.

The vice-chairman would also receive a £1,000 under the plan, which was slammed by several councillors at the meeting of full council on Thursday.

However one member of the committee said it saved Macclesfield residents from paying an extra tax and they deserve the cash.

As part of Cheshire East's localism drive, the committee was established to decide what assets and services should transferred to it, such as the town hall and markets.

It was also intended to set a precept, an extra tax on Macclesfield residents, to pay for these.

However after four meetings, this decision was put off a year after doubts about the committe's legality and opposition from members.

But many councillors hit out at the retrospective paying of the chairman.

Coun Brendan Murphy said: “This is very dangerous.

“We go into this on the basis we are doing voluntary work.

“I don't understand what the payments are for.

“I think it's part of the political nepotism that has grown into local government where people become dependent on these payments.”

Coun Howard Murray said: “This is a burden on my rate payers who are going to be paying for work done in Macclesfield and Crewe.

“If Macclesfield gets a town council then it can decide what to pay town councillors out of its precept.”

Coun John Hammond who chaired a similar committee in Crewe said: “We had three meetings and we're looking at nearly £2,000 a meeting.

“It's not right.”

All council committee chairman currently get a special responsibility allowance with the lowest being £5,600 received by the chairman of the public rights of way committee.

If approved £5,000 would be the lowest amount paid to a committee chairman.

Macclesfield South councillor Damien Druce chaired three of the four Macclesfield committee meetings and said he would accept whatever recommendation the panel made.

He told the Express: “If the independent panel think it's reasonable I will go along with it.

“It's not for me to challenge them and decide what I should be paid.

“The meetings were very time consuming.

“Many of these went on for five or six hours.

“I had to cancel work appointments and take a days holiday on one occasion.

“As well as the meetings themselves I attended around five or six meetings with officers.

“I don't claim any expenses so I think the residents of Cheshire East get a good deal from me.”

Fellow member Coun Louise Brown said: “I think they were very difficult meetings to chair and I think there is an entitlement to remuneration because of that.”

The matter was referred back to the independent panel for further consideration.

 

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