There was one question from the public at today's Cabinet meeting. The Leader was asked if the Chief Executive and his fellow Cornwall Council corporate directors would be following the example set by the Prime Minister in taking a voluntary reduction in salary.
The single word answer was... No.
I'm very disappointed that this course of action is not even being considered by the top echelon of Cornwall Council officers. It is something I called for a couple of weeks ago.
Regardless of your views of the individual salaries, I think that Cornwall's top officers should have considered a voluntary 5% pay cut for two reasons:
- First, because it sends a message to the public that the officers understand that the cuts that are hitting Cornwall from both national and local government are going to have an effect on the quality of services that we are able to offer residents. The officers would be demonstrating that they are suffering the consequences too.
- Second, because one of the avenues which I think should be explored in seeking to cut costs is to ask staff more generally to consider accepting a small pay cut if the trade off is that more jobs and services can be saved. Of course, this would need to be properly discussed with staff and unions. But I think it is a much more difficult concept to sell to lower level staff if the top officers - often in jobs which the council is legally obliged to fill - are not seen to be doing the same.
I very much hope that, in their discussions around budget cuts over the coming weeks and months, the Cabinet and top officers revisit this discussion and come to a different conclusion.