St Catherine councillors disappointed

SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine — Some councillors at the St Catherine Municipal Corporation are expressing disappointment that the announced salary bump has still not hit their bank accounts, noting that up to Thursday they had not received any official word on when they will receive the funds.

“I can’t say much to it because I was never a part of the negotiation process,” Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott told the Jamaica Observer when asked about the issue.

He added:”We would have seen something announced in Parliament but nothing has been shared with us. I heard Members of Parliament have already been paid, but nothing has been said.”

Scott said ahead of Thursday’s monthly meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation he had sought an update from the CEO and the reply was, “No such update”.

Another councillor, who asked not to be identified by name, theorised that the public’s strong negative reaction to the pay hike seems to have delayed the process.

“It appears that our salary has been put on pause because the people don’t want us to get the money,” he noted. “However, it is welcomed because of the work and expectations that the people that we serve have for us.”

Under the previous compensation package councillors were paid $1,672,728 annually, including motor vehicle concessions, without upkeep. Under the new package that became effective April 1, 2023 parish councillors are to receive $4,474,421 annually. Meanwhile, the salary for the St Catherine mayor is expected to move from $3,285,580 to $8,743,631 annually.

Much of the public outcry has revolved around the level of increase provided to parliamentarians. In some cases the increases have been more than 200 per cent. Critics have frequently drawn parallels between the significantly less increase granted to other government employees such as teachers and the police.