Councillors will next month debate a motion to slash the lord mayor of Cork’s salary in half to €62,000.
Independent Fianna Fáil councillor Kenneth O’Flynn believes that the city council — which is facing a €1.7m reduction in its budget on the directions of Environment Minister Phil Hogan — cannot afford to pay such “extravagant” wages to its figurehead.
Cllr O’Flynn said Lord Mayor Cllr John Buttimer (FG) receives an annual salary of about €123,000.
“The lord mayor of Cork is the highest paid mayor in the whole of the country. The average annual income of a mayor in Britain is €62,000. Boris Johnson gets around €182,000, but in fairness he’s the mayor of London, and London is an awful lot bigger than Cork,” said Cllr O’Flynn.
He said that €62,000 per year was double the average industrial wage, and any lord mayor of Cork should be able to live on that quite comfortably.
As Fianna Fáil, Labour, and Fine Gael have a voting pact in operation for electing mayors, Cllr O’Flynn knows he may face an uphill battle in getting his motion passed.
Nevertheless, he wants to force the issue and is insisting that councillors vote on his motion, so the public can see in the face of current austerity who supports paying the city’s first citizen a salary of €123,000.
“Because of the budget cuts foisted on us by a Fine Gael minister, people with disabilities will have to wait for housing improvement grants, those on the housing waiting list will also be hit. Let’s have a small bit of cop on,” he said.
“Ordinary householders are having to cut their cloth to measure to make ends meet and I think it’s only right that Cork City Council does the same.”
Cllr Buttimer said it would not be appropriate for him to respond to Cllr O’Flynn’s comments.
However, he said the issue of the lord mayor’s salary was reviewed each December at the council’s annual budget meeting.
The mayor’s salary is directly linked to TDs salary scales and his representational payments are directly linked to senators’ pay scales.
It is possible that Mr Hogan may strike before Cllr O’Flynn has time to get his motion debated.
The minister is reviewing salaries and expenses for councillors under his review of local government. This review is expected to be completed next month and any changes would be likely to be enforced by Jan 1.
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