CRITICS have condemned a council after its chief executive was handed an inflation-busting pay increase to £99,000 a year.
The £8,000 boost was voted on at a council meeting but not advertised before – effectively preventing public scrutiny.
Peter Chegwyn, the Lib Dem opposition leader at Gosport Borough Council branded the move to increase Ian Lycett’s pay from £91,000 as scandalous.
He said: ‘Normal people are suffering on the breadline.
‘This is absolutely disgusting. They sneaked it through.
‘The county council would never work like that. They’d at least be open.’
Agendas for council meetings are normally sent to councillors and published online about a week in advance.
The item suggesting increasing Mr Lycett’s pay was put forward during the meeting.
Cllr Chegwyn was not at the meeting as he was running the launch of Wickham Festival.
Mr Lycett, who was not involved in the decision was paid £91,071 a year but Tory councillors voted to up it to £98,971 at the policy and organisation board.
It comes as the council has saved £100,000 through reducing its workforce.
Other workers got a one per cent rise as part of a nationally-agreed union deal last year.
Council leader Mark Hook argued Mr Lycett works on average 50 hours a week – 13 more than his 37 contracted hours.
He added Mr Lycett, who has been in the job since 2005, has more work to do as the number of senior staff was cut to four from nine in 2003.
Cllr Hook said: ‘He’s taken on a tremendous amount of responsibility and saved the local authority a lot of money and generated a lot of income.
‘He’s the second-lowest paid chief executive in Hampshire.’
Cllr Hook added if Mr Lycett could claim overtime – as other staff are allowed to – it would cost the council an extra £45,000.
Labour councillor Jill Wright was at the meeting and abstained, as did all other opposition councillors.
She said: ‘He did deserve an increase but it just hadn’t been offered to others.
‘The report was put on the table at the end of the meeting.
‘There was all sorts of information that wasn’t there.’
Mr Lycett was approached for comment through the council but no response was received.
Council bosses have big task with high pay
CHIEF executives are responsible for all council services – that means they have a huge job but are paid plenty of cash.
At Fareham Borough Council the chief executive Peter Grimwood’s pay was recently increased to £116,500 a year. In contrast to Gosport, that proposal was advertised 10 days in advance and all councillors voted at a meeting of full council. Mark Hook, leader of Gosport, said he tabled his report late as he was waiting for information.
Portsmouth City Council’s chief executive David Williams receives no more than £148,885 a year.
Sandy Hopkins, joint chief executive of Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council, is paid £126,250 a year. The councils said chief executives do not get paid overtime.