Star date: 18th July 2012


Salford Council voted to ratify the £69,000 salary of the Mayor and £44,850 salary of the Deputy Mayor today with the huge Labour majority voting in favour and the small Conservative opposition voting against, calling it "obscene".

In defending the Mayoral salaries, Assistant Mayor for Finance, Councillor Bill Hinds– salary £23,091 – said that Salford councillors were "underpaid and undervalued"…

Full story here plus salaries of the Independent Panel that decided the Mayor's salary…


Today's full meeting of Salford Council ratified the £69,000 salary of Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, and the £44,850 salary of his Deputy Mayor, Councillor David Lancaster.

The rates were decided by the Independent Remuneration Panel, appointed by Chief Executive Barbara Spicer. In opening the Mayoral salary discussion, Spicer said that the Panel was made up of "a good mix of people, aware of the issues facing Salford"…


The Salford Star researched the salaries of members of the Independent Panel* and they certainly raised some eyebrows.

Panel Member 1: Jayne Bessant, Chief Executive, St Ann's Hospice
Latest St Ann's Hospice accounts show one employee was paid over £70,000 and one was paid between £60-70,000. Given that Jayne's the Chief Exec of the charity, we presume that she earned one of these mayoral type salaries.

Panel Member 2: Keith Barnes, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Salford. Latest University of Salford accounts show loads of people earning between £100,000 and £130,000. Given that Keith is a Pro-Vice Chancellor we can assume he's earning over £100,000.

Panel Member 3: Clive Memmott, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Hard to work out what Clive earns, as he started with the Chamber in September 2010, almost half way through the financial year. But the latest accounts show that Directors, of which he is, one can assume, the main earner, trousered £112,588 between them.

Panel Member 4: Maria McGeoghan, Director, Scott Partnership.
Maria only joined the PR company, Scott Partnership, days after Ian Stewart became Mayor. Before that she was editor of Manchester Evening News. And they don't come cheap – well not as cheap as Salford Star editors (salary: nil). Incidentally, wasn't it the Manchester Evening News that led the indignation at Ian Stewart's salary?

End of interlude…

Speaking first at the Council meeting, Labour Councillor John Ferguson, who represents Pendlebury, extended his appreciation to the Panel – "a good cross section of professionals who understood Salford." He added that the Mayoral salaries were "not extravagant".

Strangely, it was the Conservative councillors – transformed from toffs' party to working class cheerleaders – who articulated opposition to the wads… "I feel they're too high" said `comrade' Councillor Andy Cheetham, adding that there was "no detail or rationale" of how the Panel managed to arrive at the figures.

"We're talking about two people getting £113,850 - what services are going to be cut to pay for these salaries?" asked `comrade' Councillor Karen Garrido, decrying an 80% increase on previous leaders' wages. "We haven't even seen the job description" she mourned.

Defending Ian Stewart's wage level, Labour Councillor Bill Hinds re-iterated that he campaigned against the concept of an elected Mayor, unlike the Tories, and "We warned the people of Salford that we could be paying a good deal more money than we paid the Leader."

Hinds then went on to stick one on Hazel Blears and co… "I could argue that elected Mayors are worth more than backbench MPs" and, with a nod to his own back yard added that "councillors do more than MPs…local councillors are underpaid and undervalued."

And then it was back to Conservative `comrade', Councillor Christopher Clarkson, who argued that, with "Lower paid Council workers having pay freezes, we need to look at what is a reasonable sum…£69,000 and £49,000 is not reasonable…"

Conservative `comrade', Councillor Iain Lindley went even further… "These are difficult times and the idea that we can increase leaders' pay by 80% is obscene…"

A vote was taken to ratify the salaries recommended by the Independent Panel -  Labour councillors, with their huge majority, unanimous in support of the pay rates, the tiny Conservative opposition unanimous in their opposition.

After a break, Mayor Ian Stewart, who had left the chamber during the debate, returned with a beaming smile on his face. The first item on the agenda was the Mayor's Statement. Ian Stewart stood up, er,… "There is no statement"

Next it was Mayor's Question TimeOn the Burgess Farm planning fiasco? "I'm looking into this" (click here for more)… On the £130,000 fraud? "I'm waiting for a full report"… On the ASDA Burial Ground? "We'll be keeping a close eye on this"… On the lack of any information since December on Council spending over £500? "I'm not equipped with the answer to that question"… And so it went on. The Mayor said absolutely nothing of any value to anyone.

And nobody – not Tories or Labour – asked the obvious question - `Will Ian Stewart actually be taking all of the £69,000 salary that had been ratified earlier? Or will he be taking a reduced rate?"

Judging by his performance in the Salford Council chamber this morning, `light', `worth' and `not' come to mind… 

• If any members of the Independent Panel would like to refute the Salford Star estimation of their wages we would be only too happy to correct the record.

See previous Salford Star feature on Salford Mayor's salary and more…click here

Anti- Politician wrote
at 11:42:19 on 09 August 2012
I had the extremely unpleasant experience of observing the drunken antics of Local Labour Party Turds in a Bexley square pub recently . What a sickening and arrogant bunch of Champagne Socialist Waster Scum they are . All that was missing was Rock The Boat Blears and Mayor Funky Chicken , and the party of despair would have been complete . Nice to know my extorted taxes are being wasted by these Labour Losers in such a drunken , boisterous , and pathetic manner . No wonder these inept and useless wasters have trashed this Dead City and shafted the Inmates . I would not trust these assholes to run a tap , and never this City . Mr Overpaid Mayor , Wordsmith Extraordinaire had better start trying earn his obscene salary , and sort his accolyte assholes out . New word for Mayor Funky Chicken to use : DrunkyBumObnoxiation .
HAIL Merry!!!! wrote
at 22:37:03 on 03 August 2012
Has former leader John Merry finally listened to what has been said on here about Spicer and decided to give her a pay cut? He said that she is not paid £200k a year but £150. Has John found a way to save Salford council AND US £199,850 a year? I think they should pay her minimum wage at least, even though I don't think she is worth it.
B .Leach. wrote
at 13:59:10 on 02 August 2012
Spicers salary of over £200,000 is obscene and excessive . Nobody involved in council work should earn more than £50,000. If they don't think that's enough they can get a job in the real world , the Private sector. Alhough this greedy lot , funded by taxpayers loot , would not make the grade . The concept of hard work is beyond them , that's why they 'work' for a council . I am sick and tired of being ripped-off to fund the overpaid greedy leeches at the Madhouse . Champagne socialists make me puke .
j wrote
at 14:34:00 on 01 August 2012
At the very least Cllr Merry should be commended for his attempts to respond. More than can be said for all his backstabbing brothers in arms. Seems like his star has now waxed and waned-overlooked by his party to stand as an MP, their preference being Hazel Blears, knocked back in favour of Ian Stewart by his party to be their Mayoral nominee. Scary Spicer & Cllr David Lancaster((£17K last year?)get top ups from GMPA and all he gets is a kick in the teeth. Shouldve stayed in the background like Cllrs Connor & Lancaster, jobs for life and money for nothing. Mind you,its not ver till the fat lady sings-he could still be one of Salford come back kings, look at Warmisham & Hinds-moved sideways when the going gets tough.....& Roger Jones-as the salford labour luvvies all say "back where he belongs"
Michael Moulding wrote
at 09:10:44 on 01 August 2012
John - Thank you for reminding me. But you are not strictly telling the truth. Mrs Spicer does receive over £200,000 PA which £50,000 is paid by GMP and the rest by Salford. I am not too sure why this is but I have said and asked before do we have a part-time Chief Executive or a full-time part funded by GMP ? Either way - No employee should receive more than our Mayor. Most people believe £69,000 is too much for the Mayor, however, even on that salary why do we have Chief Officer earning hundreds of thousands each and every year. Salford Labour are for the FATCATS. There are many able people who can do better jobs than the ones who are paid extortionate salaries. Your Mayor allows this carry on yet as we see over the coming months you will blame central government for further cuts that will hit the poorest and you will carry out these cuts but at the same time pay these fatcat salaries ? Michael Moulding, Deputy Leader, Community Action Party
Clever clive wrote
at 05:31:01 on 30 July 2012
LOL, Mr Merry "Secondly in respect of the schools we were forced if we wanted the new investment to rationalise our schools by central government." What you mean by the last Labour government??? As for your comment "I got our schools to a position where they were pointed out by Government Ministers as the most improved in the country" well as the tune played as Blairs victory parade quoted "things can only get better" or lets put it another way John shit cannot be any browner, or you can't drag those at the bottom any further down.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 02:44:11 on 29 July 2012
Mr Merry, you can go on about half truths, but never give us the truth. If you & your council kept us the people you are supposed to represent informed then there would be no half truths.
John Merry wrote
at 18:37:16 on 28 July 2012
It must be great Nacht to sit on the sidelines and decide who are Tories . You are entitled to comment as I am . I feel your hatred of labour makes you see them as the enemy rather than the true opponents of the city. Desperate to believe every half truth that can be dredged up . To deal with your points we are waiting for a new inspection following a lot of hard work and difficult decisions that will indicate the progress that has been made in children's services. I did not duck the decisions. Secondly in respect of the schools we were forced if we wanted the new investment to rationalise our schools by central government. Now we are seeing more people wanting to live in the city we need more places. Now I am off to fight the Tories you might want to reflect that no doubt unwittingly you help them.
at 15:04:22 on 27 July 2012
It seems that no one is refusing the money- Mayors, deputies, uncle tom cobley and all. SCC looks like the old boys network-its not what you know-its who you know, husbands, wives, aunties uncles, sons, cousins, partners, union buddies, all seemingly friends of friends. SCc need to get their own house in order and stop playing the national politics sniping game. So, in 2012 the Salford labour party didnt have the confidence in Mr Merry to vote him in as their Mayoral nominee, looks like what goes around comes around. In 2003 they had a secret ballot to oust Bill Hinds as SCC leader-what a bunch of turncoats, mind you they never really go anywhere do they? They just cling on till their labour cronies nominate them to stand again, albeit at times in other wards. Only good thing this time round is that John Warmisham didnt get a position as Deputy Mayor-he is one that definitely should have gone when Jill Baker went,he was head of childrens services at the time. He should have resigned-not protected by the Leader and handed the role of Lead member for adult social care-talk about no moral fibre. Oh but I forgot isnt he is the National Labour Partys rep for something or other-so he would be far too busy to listen to the needs of anyone in his own city When is Mayors Question Time going to be? SCC Leader Ousted- http://tinyurl.com/bplo7ru
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 13:44:41 on 27 July 2012
Mr Merry, pardon me for expressing my opinions. So in the city where child services were described as inadequate, where you have closed & demolished perfectly good schools only to find that you actually needed those schools, where money is thrown away, or as you put it invested with no return. Is this the utopian city in the clouds that you describe Mr Merry? Furthermore if you think that paying somebody £150,000 per year to do any job is acceptable to the people of this city you are more out of touch than I thought. You may have at one time fought privatisation, but now you have become what you claim to despise. Mr Merry, you may not be a member of the Conservative Party, but you are a Tory.
Michael Felse wrote
at 13:36:31 on 27 July 2012
Replying to Michael Moulding is always a pleasure, he always says it as it is. Honesty has me admit it was a local Labour Party in Doncaster, where I was Labour Party Constituency Secretary for 8 years, that expelled me from The Labour Party membership for 5 years over my independent standing to improve local road and street safety. I know many other good and caring citizens in Yorkshire that were expelled for their social thinking impacting beliefs (which The Labour Party should have been proud to support). As the Labour rule book stands I remain expelled until 2015. This does not mean I care any less about how I help improve the lives of people in our community. In fact having stepped aside by force has given me an insight into other groups that shared the mayoral election journey. It made me see that what citizens want is for all our diverse ideas to input into helping stronger build better community futures. It will take a true brave leader in office to grasp that nettle (I do believe Mayor Stewart should have taken up the offer from Paul Massey to engage). My short answer is that I have more socialist blood in me than many who are still in The Labour Party, one difference is my working class blood drives me to stand for what is right and if that costs me 5 years cast aside by Labour Chief's then it is an enrichment to my own spirit. I am proud of those in Salford who stood this May for what they believe. I also admire the ED Party for support in the Salford Mayoral 2012 campaign, they helped me experience an evolving range of true life diversity. When I was a member of Labour it was called People Power !
John Merry wrote
at 12:07:16 on 27 July 2012
Yes Petty you are wrong £2.6 million a year to be taken from council tax benefit whilst last night at the community comittee we heard how we are proposing to take Whit Lane forward. Michael you keep saying things in the hope that if you say things often enough it might be true. Barbara Spicer is not paid £200k by Salford she is paid £150 and you have been told this on a number of occasions. Now we come to Nacht. I fought and campaigned against Gas privatisation . Did you or do you do anything but post messages about how dreadful it all is. During my time as Leader I fought to keep our social care at a higher standard than surrounding areas, got our schools to a position where they were pointed out by Government Ministers as the most improved in the country put resources into our community committees and sought to attract new people to Salford so that there was more council tax to pay for services to all. If you could just look up and see the tories as our common enemy then we might find some agreement
Petty? wrote
at 10:42:49 on 27 July 2012
Councillor Merry is concerned about the £2.6 million cut in funding? I wonder if he is concerned about the £53 million his lot have pissed away with the NDC in Whit Lane? By my understanding of maths, that is over 20 times more than the £2.6 million. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Michael Moulding wrote
at 10:41:33 on 27 July 2012
Do I detect a sniff of Michael Felse returning to the Labour Party in Salford ? Nice Labour ? That comment flies in the face of the Eng DEms who vociferously campaigned on a lower salary. Albeit, Mr Felse said himself he would take the full amount offered to him ? The reality is our Mayor does not have to take what is offered and nor should he. The values of Salfordians are that I believe we want elected representatives who value public service over their remuneration and must demonstrate this ? I agree with Mary Ferrer's comments that Salford's Executive is financially extortionate and Stewart must do the decent thing and make Spicer go on 200K PA. No Chief is worth that much and our Mayor should be taking on her responsibilities. Many candidates said they would do this including the Liberal DEmocrats and myself. Michael Moulding, Deputy Leader, Community Action Party http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Community-Action-Party/298142923616412 (Our new Facebook page)
Winston Smith wrote
at 16:50:23 on 26 July 2012
@Michael, while I agree it would be 'nice' if more politicians took the time to engage in a proper public forum like this (so some credit to John Merry for that), it doesn't get us any closer to a democracy. What would get us closer to a democracy is politicians representing the people, not just endlessly trying to justify why they act against the consensus.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 14:56:58 on 26 July 2012
Ohh nice try at deflection. I have not & have no intention of setting myself up as some kind of politician, I'll leave that to the professionals such as yourself Mr Merry. Nor am I any friend of the Tories. The problem I have, Mr Merry, is that for as long as I can remember you have been indistinguishable from those you now say you are fighting. May I suggest that you examine your conscience and rather than ask me, a voter, what I am doing ask yourself why you turned you back on representing the wishes of the people of Salford and adhered to the Thatcherite New Labour mantra of private good, public bad approach to public service. Maybe you might admit that on a day when British Gas announced a 23% rise in profit from domestic users that privatisation & all that engenders has been an unmitigated disaster for us, the consumer.
Michael Felse wrote
at 14:56:04 on 26 July 2012
Cllr Merry has the experience to know the facts and I applaud his honesty in these matters. Would be good for democracy if more of our elected took time to do a public reply.
John Merry wrote
at 10:38:16 on 26 July 2012
To answer your question Nacht you may recall that I campaigned against the mayoral system perhaps you could tell us what you did? Secondly Ian made it clear that he would leave it to the panel and accept whatever the recomendation was. I am not aware of as you put it lorry loads of cash of SCC money that has been handed over to peel. I am more concerned over the £2.6 million the Tories are cutting from council tax benefit in Salford. Perhaps you could tell me what you doing to campaign against the Tories and their allies the Lib Dems. Len you are entitled to your views but there might be the possibility of some real debate rather than trading insults.
Len wrote
at 18:39:06 on 24 July 2012
Well said , Nacht . For this bunch of Clowns at the Swinetown Big Top to illustrate comparisons with Lenin is just obscene . Lenin had integrity , these inept, greedy , self-serving cretins have none .
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 20:56:41 on 23 July 2012
Maybe Mr Merry could tell us why the people of Salford were not asked how much the Mayor should be paid. The bunch who made up this "independent" panel know, I would suggest, less than sod all about the issues facing Salford & ordinary Salfordians. As for the argument about Lenin's thoughts, would he really have handed lorry loads of cash over to an organisation like peel? I think most citizens have no objection to having a relationship with anybody. It's giving away their money, yes Mr Merry theirs not yours, that makes them angry.
Winston Smith wrote
at 10:28:18 on 23 July 2012
@Michael, I understand the Mayor has already refused to work with at least one of the other candidates. If this is true, so much for the Labour Party 'reflecting diversity'. Also, if the city is flat broke, there is NO MONEY for a Mayor, whether £69000 is fair pay or not. What is it with politicians?!? They tell us that if there's no money to keep *us* in work, it's tough shit. Different story when it comes to the political classes looking after themselves, isn't it?
Michael Felse wrote
at 21:18:44 on 21 July 2012
As one of the Mayoral candidates I accept the result. The job now is to build success in Salford. I will be supporting the elected Mayor in all good things and I hope our Mayor pulls in the talents of all those who stood in the election to reflect a diversity into the City's future. As for the "pay" scales when we take a look at comparable responsibilities they are deffo paying themselves on lower level. Nice Labour.
The Theory wrote
at 13:20:37 on 20 July 2012
Well Said John Merry. The trouble is that only about 20-25% of people in Salford vote, which is why your lot keep getting in. If the other 75-80% voted trather than just moaning, then the place might actually improve.
Winston Smith wrote
at 13:20:31 on 20 July 2012
@John Merry, that's certainly the theory that suits Party politicians, the reason being that they can get voted in on false promises, do as much damage as they like and nobody can do anything about it until election time when it's too late. The process then repeats. It's fait accompli politics, not democracy. In a democracy, the people would feel, and be, represented ALL the time, not just for the length of a doorstep conversation at election time.
John Merry wrote
at 05:41:58 on 20 July 2012
Actually Winston the theory is that you elect representives and then if you are not satisfied with what they are doing you kick them out.
Third Mayor wrote
at 05:41:40 on 20 July 2012
Irwell Running Through Me .Superb post and very well said . Thatcher and Blair should be hanged . The People of Britain are betrayed , and it's time to wake up , fight back , SMASH THE SYSTEM . Merry . Cheap shot , but at least you read the Salford Star to find out what really goes on in this city . You councillors , Spicer , Stewart , and the rest of you leeches are hated and despised by the Saford People whom you lot betrayed , and we will get rid of you all .
Winston Smith wrote
at 21:05:19 on 19 July 2012
Mr Merry, since you have interrupted the proceedings, I don't know what Lenin thought, but presumably the idea of Representative Democracy was that the People do the thinking and decision making and then their Representatives go out and do it. The representatives shouldn't be thinking for themselves, should they? Or doing what their Party wants rather than what the people want? Eh?
John Merry wrote
at 18:35:13 on 19 July 2012
Just to point out to "Irwell running through me" he needs to read his history . In particular he might want to study Lenin's new economic policy and the pragmatic decisions he had to make. Sorry to interrupt the name calling
Winston Smith wrote
at 18:35:00 on 19 July 2012
@Adopted Salfordian: 'the conservatives seem to be the only sensible ones'. You honestly think smashing the NHS, dismantling the armed forces and police and letting banks get away with robbery counts as 'sensible'? The main parties are just two halves of the same malfunctioning brain. @Irwell's absolutely right, there's no point in voting for any of them
Irwell Running Through Me wrote
at 15:25:53 on 19 July 2012
@ Adopted Salfordian - who should Salford vote for then? All you are doing is stating the blindingly bleeding obvious mate. Nothing new in any of it. But try throwing out an alternative. The conservatives? We should replace one gang of self interested, provincial little London wannabes with another? As for vilifying the Tories, it may not help but it certainly can't hurt. Lest we forget that the nation is in the state it is today, and to some degree the entire world, because rather than tackling the union problems of the 1970's, the tories of the day embarked on a 'shock and awe' campaign which completely destroyed Britain's industry base and replaced it with over paid toffs in the city and waiters and bar staff everywhere else. It was Thatcher, in line with Ronnie Raygun who helped dismantle financial industry regulation, leading to the disaster we see before us. It was Thatcher who created an environment where the Frankensteins monster that is Tony Blair and New Labour could flourish to the detriment of us all. The only thing holding out against that insane, Americanise everything, Tory ideology was a strong, committed Labour party. It wasn't perfect but it was a thumb in the breaking damn. As Thatcher reportedly said, her greatest achievement was Tony Blair. So, the 99% are in dire straits while the 1% continue to live like gods. And Labour? They joined the 1% and completely gave up on their own ideology. It only took the misguided and weak governance of one little turd of a politician (Blair) to give the rest of these greedy little cretins the excuse they needed to become Tory in all but name. To begin filling their boots, so to speak. So, now we are left with John Merry, a high ranking member of the council who believes that 'even Lenin would have had some relationship' with Peel. This is where we are now. A Labour party which does not know the first thing about Labour ideology. So, Adopted, do you have a solution? Or is it just more of the same polar thinking - if not Labour then Conservative? If so then you have nothing useful to add mate. Sorry to be harsh, but they are all pissing in the same pot. Withold your votes I say. Don't play their phoney game of democracy because it is more akin to Monopoly.
at 15:25:48 on 19 July 2012
In the words of Terry Pratchett: "May you live in Interesting Times..." Or Put in Salford Speak "Be Careful what you wish for, you might just get it!"
Winston Smith wrote
at 12:38:04 on 19 July 2012
In words the Mayor will appreciate, it's a trundlemoneyganza and he must be feeling coiningitmintywarmbeam. I wish I had a nepotipanel of execcychums to set my incrediwage. Rhinohideguffaw and no mistake.
OUT, OUT. OUT wrote
at 12:37:23 on 19 July 2012
These people are turds . Mayor Funky Chicken has betrayed the people of this dead city . I will never , ever vote for these avarious , greedy , self-serving scum . OUT, OUT, OUT .
adopted salfordian wrote
at 09:43:48 on 19 July 2012
no surprise here - as long as Salford mindlessly votes Labour we will get this kind of nonsense. Vilifying Tories doesn't help matters - as they seem to be the only sensible ones at the table this time 'round. Salford wake up! stop voting red and throw the champagne socialists out!
mary ferrer wrote
at 05:21:41 on 19 July 2012
I am not surprised. So where will all this extra cash come from. I still can't get my head around the fact we are paying these two over a £100.000 and also paying Ms Spicer £200.000ish.Everywhere you look firms are cutting back on staff, yet that lot up there are adding to the payroll and from what I have read on here not up to speed. We will just have to give the mayor some time and lets hope he is worth his wages.As for Lancaster well he runs the show and has done for years. It will get worse not better.
salford born wrote
at 22:02:46 on 18 July 2012
Fiercly proud of my home city...Deeply ashamed of the people who run it....
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