A DEBATE between town councillors on the transparency of the accounts sheets has continued.
Andrew Riley, Uttoxeter town councillor, has hit back at comments from other town councillors who suggested that the wage figures should be made more transparent for members of the public.
Councillor Riley said: "Can I just point out that maybe I should just remind the councillor's that we had a draft precept meeting and a final precept meeting where we all accepted and agreed the public money?
"We all have copies of the quarterly accounts and I, like any other councillor, have the right to go in and inspect the books any time.
"When you go to work, your wages are confidential and should not be published, just like when I go to work my wages are not published.
"They are confidential.
"So I would ask those councillors that are clueless, please go in and have a look, and ask questions."
The councillors who thought that the figures should be made clearer raised their opinions at the town council meeting with regard to figures published in the accounts under the payee headings 'Wages' and 'Combined Salaries', which do not state to whom the money is paid to.
Councillor Graham said: "Why are ratepayers not made aware of exactly how much each individual is paid?
"There is a lack of transparency.
"Members of the public have a right to know which areas are absorbing wages, and should know how much each salary is.
"It is in the interest of the members of the public to know the exact salaries that are being paid, as we are acting on behalf of council tax payers by approving the accounts."
Councillor Noyes said: "As councillors we approve the accounts, with only a vague idea what the payments are going towards.
"We are accountable if anything were to go wrong, yet we don't have a clue to whom the money is going.
"We only have a vague idea what it's for.
"The mayor only signs the cheques because the council approves the payment."
Councillor Russell added to the other's opinions: "To take it from a different angle, I would suggest that we as councillors should know the administrative salary costs of this council without revealing sensitive salary information.
"We need to understand what the wages and salaries are made up of.
"Is there a possibility that the councillors could receive a copy of the information.
"At the moment we don't get access to that data."
It was agreed to put the suggestions to the Finance and General Purposes Committee and take the advice of the internal auditor.