Almost £500,000 for councillors’ salaries/expenses

Councillors claimed a fraction under half a million pounds in salaries and expenses over the last financial year.

Figures released today show the authority’s recently departed political leader Josie Simpson and convener Sandy Cluness as being among the top earners during 2011/12.

Mr Simpson claimed £16,253.16 in expenses over and above his £26,168.44 salary, giving him a total income of £42,421.60 – up from the £33,580 he took home the previous year.

Mr Cluness, meanwhile, took home £32,423.57 this time round – £11,240.13 of which came from the expenses pot. Although the figure made him a high earner in council circles, it was down on the £36,288 he received in 2010/2011.

But their expenses were less than that of retired West Side councillor Florence Grains. Her £17,135.57-worth of claims were the highest of all elected members, and almost £3,000 up on her previous expenses total of £14,232.

Many of the claims were made to cover taxi fares to the town hall. They almost doubled the £17,822 salary non-driver Mrs Grains took home as chairwoman of the audit and standards committee.

The various other chairs of council committees were also high earners.

Development chairman Alastair Cooper took home a penny over £26,890 – £8,223.84 of which came from expenses.

Robert Henderson, the harbour board chairman in the last council, was handed a combined salary and expenses of £23,954.68, while social services chairman Cecil Smith got £23,194.96.

Allan Wishart, who was made chairman of environment and transport in December, took home £21,417.62.

Chairwoman of education and families, Betty Fullerton, was awarded £21,304.18.

As planning chairman Frank Robertson took home £20,889.56 – above licensing chairman Jim Budge at £18,982.27.

Unsurprisingly, Iris Hughson, who left the council at the tail end of last year, was one of the two councillors to take home the smallest amount of cash with a combined salary and expenses of £11,307.23.

Her successor, Davie Sandison, has so far not made much of a mark on the wages/expenses bill, with just £4,581.09.

Other councillor figures for combined salary and expenses were: Gussie Angus £22,441.27; Allison Duncan £21,019.80; Rick Nickerson £20,174.02; Laura Baisley £19,412.71; Jim Henry £18,612.46; Gary Robinson £18,543.72; Addie Doull £17,877.31; Jonathan Wills £17,417.20; Bill Manson £17,295.32; Caroline Miller £17,191.46; and Andrew Hughson £16,791.03.


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