THE leader of Wrexham Council has defended her £42,000 pay after huge wage hikes for council leaders were blasted by the head of Flintshire County Council.
Shan Wilkinson last week accepted a salary of £42,000 - a phased income from £12,165 to £31,368 on top of a basic allowance of £10,554 which has now been confirmed in writing to all councillors.
But leader of Flintshire County Council Alex Aldridge - who has chosen not to accept a pay rise - believes the wage increases are over-inflated.
He said: 'I do not want to single Shan out but I think for AMs, MPs and council leaders, the size of these wages cannot be justified. They are grossly inflated.
'I put a lot of work in but I chose not to accept the pay.'
But Shan Wilkinson said: 'These pay increases were agreed two years ago. This is nothing new.
'The pay rise is in line with a pay formula that puts councillors on a similar footing to backbench AMs. 'It's a full-time job, and the rest. I don't have to put in the hours I do, but I think it is for the benefit of Wrexham.' can't afford it.
The Welsh Local Government Association said Mrs Wilkinson's wages were in line with other Welsh authorities of a similar size.
But members of the Forward Wales party have criticised the pay increases, claiming Wrexham
Council candidate for Bryn Cefn, Janet Williams, said: 'Wrexham can't afford four more years of Labour and Liberal Democrat mis-rule - it's cost us £14m on the superschools, incinerator, theatre and stock transfer fiascos alone. We certainly don't want a Labour council leader claiming £42,000 for doing such a bad job.
'Many council workers earning the minimum wage or just above will be disgusted to see the hours the council leader works for her £800-a-week allowance. Cleaners and dinner ladies would be delighted to earn a fraction of that.'