Peterborough metro mayor defers £5k salary rise
Metro mayor James Palmer told members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority he will defer a £5,000 rise in his allowance and the possibility of a pension until May 2021 - the next mayoral election.
The decision was announced at yesterday’s Annual Meeting following a short but angry disagreement about whether or not it was correct to offer Mayor Palmer the opportunity to regard his fixed-term contract of employment as pensionable.
Cllr Bridget Smith asked Kim Sawyer, combined authority interim chief executive officer: “Is it correct procedure and common-place among other metro mayors in the country to be offered such a pension?”
Ms Sawyer said: “No, it’s not the normal position; but it is entirely within the powers of the board to grant it.”
Cllr Smith replied: “I don’t see why we should offer an incentive like this to the mayor if it’s not common practice and isn’t done elsewhere.”
However, Cllr Anna Bailey commented: “I couldn’t disagree more. What if – God forbid – the mayor was run over by a bus tomorrow? He would receive no remuneration for the work he’s already done.
“Surely if we advertised the position today the pension incentive would be included?”
Mayor Palmer, who had remained quiet until then, announced: “If it eases matters for the board then I’m quite prepared to defer the question of my pension, and the £5,000 increase in my allowance, until May 2021.
“I would just say that I have no other pensionable employment at this time.”
Cllr Lewis Herbert called for a vote on the matter, but before that could be taken Cllr Chris Boden said: “I’m disturbed that my fellow councillor should have the need for a vote.
“Our mayor has announced at a public meeting he’s willing to defer his allowance and pension – his word alone should be good enough, without the need for a vote.”
The request was withdrawn and it was noted that the mayor had deferred both matters to May 2021.
Mayor Palmer receives an annual allowance of £75,000. The increase of £5,000 would have taken his allowance to £80,000.
The combined authority would be required to make representations to central government should it desire the mayor’s income to be regarded as a fixed-term contract of employment that is pensionable.
Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service