Councillors in Mansfield have defended their annual allowances after coming under close scrutiny.
Mansfield District Council agreed the current scheme for paying councillors for their duties should be unaltered for the forthcoming year.
This includes the mayor being paid a special responsibility allowance of £53,682, a year, the deputy mayor taking £18,147, portfolio holders picking up more than £15,000 and the planning committee chairmen eligible for £10,000 a year.
Prior to the meeting, a member of the public questioned the allowance system saying they were ‘grossly excessive’ compared to other district councils in Nottingham.
But Coun Paul Henshaw was quick to defend the allowances.
He said: “Overall, I agree with the report before us.
“There will be some people that disagree with councillors any allowances whatsoever.
“That’s a view I do not agree with.
“If you want a broad and diverse council that represents the district and the people that live in the district you need people on the council that will reflect that.
“ Years ago when there was no allowances you only had people on that were male with the majority in a fortunate position with business and could afford to participate.
“You get a fair wage for a fair day’s work.”
Coun Mick Colley added his support by saying : “I have been here 20 years and I remember you got £2 for a meeting and you had to take a day off work because they were held at 2pm, so I support
the allowances whole -heartedly.”
Coun Roger Sutcliffe said that if he tallied up the amount of hours put in compared to the allowances, it would not even reach the minimum wage level.
“I do not think that the public realise how many hours are put in,” he added.
The councillors voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations put forward by the independent remuneration panel.
With Mansfield having the only elected mayor in Nottinghamshire, the £53,682 paid is by far the biggest pay out in the county.
Payments made to leaders of the council at other authorities around the county vary, according the latest figures found on their websites.
Ashfield’s leader picks up £18,121 a year, which is considerably more than Rushcliffe’s, who picks up £12,206 .
Gedling’s leader can receive £9,282 while Newark & Sherwood’s leader can claim just £3,293.
In terms of basic allowances available to each member, Ashfield tops the tops the list, with each councillor able to receive £6,588, with Mansfield not far behind on £6,248.
Behind that is Rushcliffe Borough Council who can take home £4,476, and Newark & Sherwood, councillors picking up £4,190 each year. Gedling councillors can pick up a basic of £3,685.