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THE SALARIES OF COUNCILI |OFFICIALS.¡

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THE SALARIES OF COUNCIL OFFICIALS. COUNCILLOR. DECLINES TO SIGN OHEQUE, FOR, SURVEYOR'S SALARY -+- INTERESTING LEGAL POINTS. At the monthly meeting of the Llan- dudno Council on Wednesday, Mr W. H. Jones presiding, the question of the pay- ment of salaries to officials, during illness was discussed. A letter was read from the Llandudno Branch of the Independent Lab-our Party on the matter protesting against the differential treatment made be- tween the higher officials and the ordinary workmen. The party did not; complain of the payment of salaries to officials, but thought all should he treated alike. A letter was read from Mr Ei. F. Stephenson, surveyor and engineer to the Council, who has not been able to atL, rd (owing to illness) to his duties for St;m° time, Mr Stephenson thanked the Council for their kindness, and stated that bis recovery had been much slowed than he had anticipated. Owing to the heavy ex- pense he had been put to by his long ill- ness he could not do what he would like with regard to his salary. He would if course acquiese in any steps taken by tt e. Council, but if the suggestion were left to him he thought if the cost of the extra assistant was deducted from his salary the case would be met, such deduction to be made from next quarter's salary and not from the present one. A letter was also read from Dr. Craig giving a report as to the health of the Sur- veyor, and stating that he thought, he would be fit for duty inalbout 10 days' time, and would be eventually thoroughly cured.—(Applause.) After the above letters had been read a proposal was made that they should be all referred to the Finance Oommittee) but Mr W. Thomas (one of the Councillors signing; cheques) said he would object to signing the Surveyor's cheque as it was drawn out in full. He understood when it was discussed by the Finance Committee that the cheque was to be left open until the matter was settled. Mr E. E. Bone proposed that the cheque be signed. The Finance Committee could consider what deduction should be made from the next quarter's salary. At the same time, he wished to say tihat he was in thorough accord with the letter of the Independent Labour Party in the conten- .tion that all employees should be treated on the same terms. Mr T. W. Griffith, in seconding, said .G he did not think the Council had any legal right to withhold the salary. It was in accordance with custom to pay it, and Mr Stephenson had not been given notice ter- minating his engagement with the Council. Mir David Davies asked if there was any possibility of the cheque being surcharged by the Auditor. Members of the Council were aware that there was a determination in certain quarters to draw the auditor's attention to it. Mil" Bone We ought to be honourable and pay it. Mr Davies: Yes, but not with other people's money. Mr Beaumont: Let those in favour of paying the salary sign the cheque. Mr Marks suggested that as the Finance Committee were to have a special meeting to consider the question of purchasing the Great, Orme Tramway, die matter could be referred to them, and Mr Stephenson yet, paid before Christmas. Mr Siarson said he appreciated the step taken by Mr Stephenson in suggest- ing that, he should pay the extra assist- ant's salary. Mr W. Thomas thought that in pro- posing that the cheque be paid Mr Bone was breaking a promise made at the Finance Committee that, the cheque was not to be signed until a deduction was made. Mr Bone The cheque was not to he filled in until we heard from the Surveyor. Now we have heard we can pay this quar- ter in full and make a deduction from the next. Mr Marks proposed and Mr Sarson seconded that the aanount for which the cheque was to be signed be left to the Finance Committee. Mr W. O1. Williams Can the, auditor surcharge the amount. The Clerk: I don't think the auditor can, but if he did it would be remitted by the Local Government Board. Mr Bone Have we a legal right to make the reduction. The Clerk: I am inclined to think you have no legal right. It has been the cus- tom of the Council to pay salaries during illness, and the Surveyor has not been given notil,ce terminating1 his engagement. The question was thereupon referred to the Finance OommÎtHee, the members of which decided to meet at two o'clock on the following day. ::MiR,. BARSON'S: NOTICE OF MOTION. Later on Mr Sarson moved the follow- ing, of which he had given notice: "rhat the question of payments of Salaries to Council' Officials when absent from duty through accident or illness, and allow- ances to Council Workmen also absent from work through accident or illness be taken into consideration by this Council." In the course of a lengthy speech on the subject, Mr Siarson referred to a letter from the local branch of the Independent Labour Party, which had been addressed to the Council cordially endorsing; the objects of his motion and deploring the differential treatment meted out, to offi- cials, and workmen employed by the C'oun- cil when absent from duty owing to ill- ness or accident. He (the speaker) would have preferred to substitute the words preferential treatment if he had composed the letter. It was Ks duty to emphasise f the difference between paying officials and workmen when absent from duty owing to accident or illness sustained by them whilst in the execution of their duty for the Council or otherwise. The policy of the Council so far, and in notable instances for prolonged periods, had been to pay full salaries to their officiails when in- capacited from duty from whatever cause arising. He could not possibly say that theitr attitude or action towards the rank and file under equal conditions of dis- ability commended itself to him. When ill or suffering from casualties sustained whilst working1 for the Council the work- men had been ever refused payment or eveii partial payment of their wages ex- cepting on one solitary occasion, when half wages had been awarded to a, man during a fortnight's illness. He did not suggest that the Council should pay any man's wag;elsl during ill-health,, but so long as they were disposed to adopt that course of treatment with the officials the workmen were entitled to similar con- sideration. As against that it was no argument, to say one was a salaried official ,the other only a mere working man. That was purely a statement of fact, and of no more value. The man who could ill- tolerate the misery of unemployment through illness was condemned by the Council to bear his loss alone and un- assisted. Such a state of invidious dis- tinction was unjust, and barbarous. There were numerous cases of hardship amongst the rank and file. For example, a per- manent able-bodied workman earning: 21s. a week as a scavenger was disabled for three days owing to> a chill caused by a, rainstorm when following his occupation. At the end of the week he received 10s. 6d. for the needs of himself and family. Contrast that treatment with that afforded to officials, who for many months when disabled and absent from duty had re- ceived their salaries in full. Then there was the burning question of overtime for which some Councillors contended officials were not paid:, but there was more than one way of remunerating them for this, markedly in the guise of honorariums of which they had had well-known examples. Probably no Council possessed more talented painstaking or incorruptible offi- cials than Llandudno, did, which the speaker maintained was fully appreciated by the ratepayers. With possibly two ex- ceptions workmen were not paid for over- time. It was, alas, made a condition of their employment, and was a, glross injus- tice. Every contractor paid his men for work done after the mutually recognised hours of labour had ceased not only as much as during them, but actually more. Evefn the Council's labourers' received considerably less wages than Llandudno contractors paid to their men when engaged upon similar work. This was a difference that, demanded speedy adjust- ment. Mr Sarson then referred to the question of holidays. Officials according to their grade were entitled to a month, fortnight; or week, in every year. This was reasonable and expected, but how did the rank and file fare in that respect,? A majority of the Council had resolved that gas stokers, than whose, there is no work more arduous or devitalizing, should not be allowed a week's holiday unless they had been in the employment of the Coun- cil seven consecutive years. It, was pre- posterous and inhuman. If Mr Conolly obtained preferment!, which he should much regret, his successor would by the terms of his agreement with the Council obtain a month's holiday during the first year of his engagement, The speaker said that if such invidious preferential treat- ment, was persisted in he, would no longer be a party to rupolicy that would and was driving working men into the ranks of Socialism as the only remedy available for .grievances such as he had outlined. He had not approached this subject in any personal or oarping spirit, public opinion was with him in his protest against the preferential treatment of which he complained, and which had been the policy the Council for far too long a period. Every case should h" considered on its merits so that justice may be meted out to every necessitous and deserving case without fear or favour.-—(Applause.) Mr Bonei seconded the motion, and it was unanimously carried and referred to the Finance Committee, Mtr Sarson being added to1 the committeei for the purposes of his motion. THE ADJOURNED MEETING OF THE COUNCIL. When the OouncrI re-assembled on Thursday afternoon the following mem- bers attended. Messrs. W. H. Jones, in the chair, S. Clhantrey, W. O1. Williams, R. Roberts, H. Edwairds, W. Beaumont, J. J. Marks, P. Jones, W. Thomas, T. iSmithj H. Wilson, F'. J. Sarson, J. O. Thomas, and David Davies. PLANS APPROVED. To save the, members of the Works Committee meeting, in the evening the Assistant Surveyor produced the follow- ng plans, which he reported as hetng in order, and they were p as se d -'Two houses in Roseibery Avenue for Mr Robt, Williams, joiner, with workshop in the rear; extension of bay window at the Craigydon Boarding Establishment. THE SURVEYOR'S SALARY. The Clerk read the recommendation of the Finance! Committee in respect, of the payment of the Surveyor's salary, the re- commendation being that the Council de- duct a, sum not exceeding JE50 from the luture salary of the Surveyor, and that he be given notice that in future payment would only be made for the time he was able to be at the office. It was stated that the amount paid for assistance during the Surveyor-s absence was £ 28 6s. 8d. The Chairman proposed and Mr J. r). Thomas seconded the adoption vi the minutes, and a long discussion ensued, during which several side issues were brought up, including one as to whether his absence had necessitated others in the department working overtime^ and if a charge was to be made for that. Mr W. T. Ward said that. speaking for himself (and believing he voiced the wishes of a',Il in the department) no request would ever be made, for extra remunera- tion for any extra, work necessary. Mr Chantrey proposed that the Council accept Mr Stephenson's offer to pay the cost of the extra assistant, and that the cheque for the present, quarter be paid in full. Mr Pierce Jones referred to a. resolu- tion passed in 1905, which was eventually read, being to the effect that, if any official of the Council was absent from duty owing to illness for over 14 days it was to be reported by the head of the department to the Finance Committee. Mr Jones also asked that the agreement between the Council and Mr Stephenson should be read, after which he said that according to that agreement the Council was legally bound to pay the salary in full, and before the conditions could be changed the Surveyor would have to be given three months' notice to terminate the engagement, The Chairman The Council has no wish to terminate the engagement, but in order to meet the situation it was pro- posed by the Finance Committee that he should only in future be paid for the time he was able to attend to the duties of the office. Later the Chairman further explained that the, reduction was not, made on legal grounds, but was acting on the suggestion in Mr Stephenson's own letter. Mr W. O. Williams proposed that the cheque be signed for the amount of his salary less J628 6s. 8d. paid for extra assistance. Mr Sarson seconded the motion. Mr H. Wilson said if Mr Chantrey adhered to his resolution he would second it. He considered the Surveyor's letter a fair and honest one, coming from an offi- cial who had served the town well. Mr W. 0. Williams said they had a, duty to do to others beside Mr Stephenson, and he felt that the only course was on the lines of his resolution. At the same time he sympathised deeply with Mr Stephen- son in his illness. Chorus: We all do. Mr Wm. Thomas said that in face of Mir Williams' proposal he was bound to- move an amendment. He thought that the Finance, Committee had decided that Mr Stephenson was only entitled to JB50, and that they held him responsible for £ 50 to be deducted from future salaries. Mr W. 0. Williams: Do you propose the Council should become money lenders 1 Mr Thomas I would prefer to lend him J350 than give him J620 as you propose. We must be sympathetic to others as well as Mr Stephenson, to whom we have been generous in the past. Mr David Davies said that if the Council insisted on the legal aspect only being considered it would be necessary to give every official notice as soon as he had an accident or illness to terminate his engage- ZD ment. The Chairman: I should not like to be a member of such a Council. Mr Davies (and others) Nor I. Mr Marks said that after giving the matter the most serious consideration he could only come to the conclusion that the proposal of Mr W. O. Williams was the correct course to take. He was sorry to come to that conclusion, but he had a duty to perform to the ratepayers as well as sympathise with Mr Stephenson. He would, howeveir2. like to know whether any partt of the £ 28 6s. 8d. would have had to be paid even if Mr Stephenson had been able to attend to his duties. There was no official answer to this, and Mr Thomas then proposed that a cheque for £ 50 only be drawn. Mr Robert Roberts said he was re- luctantly compelled to second the amend- ment. Personally he would have preferred the suggestion of the Finance Committee to deduct a sum not exceeding £050 from the future salary of the Surveyor. The amendment was put to the meeting, but only found three, supporters, and was consequently lost. Mr W. O. Williams' proposal was then put and carried by 10 votes to three. INQUIRY TO BE MADE. With regard to the resolution proposed by Mr Sarson, the Finance Committee re- ported that the Clerk had been instructed to make inquiries as to the, custom pre- vailing in other towns as to to payment of salaries to workmen and officials dur- ing illness. The adoption of the minutes as amend- ed was then proposed and unanimously agreed to-

THEI SUFFRAGETTES.

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