Major Law - salary of the Chief Constable while absent on military duties

Hertfordshire Mercury, 24th July 1915

Transcript

Major Law  - salary of the Chief Constable while absent on military duties

At the quarterly meeting of Herts. County Council the Finance Committee reported that they had under consideration the question of the salary paid to the Chief Constable (Major Law) as Chief Inspector of Weights and Measures, Chief Inspector under the Diseases of Animals Acts, and as Chief Local Taxation Officer, during his absence on military duties, and also as to the remuneration to be paid to the Deputy Chief Constable for carrying out the duties pro tem.  The salary which had been paid to the Chief Constable for these duties was £192. 10s. per annum, and the Committee recommended that two thirds of this amount, £128 6s. 8d., be paid to the Chief Constable during his absence, and one third, £64 3s. 4d., to the Deputy Chief Constable (Supt Wood), such arrangement to take effect from April 1 last.  The remuneration paid to the Deputy Chief Constable for acting as Divisional Inspector for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Acts, the Local Taxation Licences, and the Shops Act was £35, and the Committee recommended that this payment should cease whilst he is in receipt of the above-mentioned salary as Chief Inspector.

The recommendations were all adopted without comment.

A Sub-Committee, appointed by the Standing Joint Committee to take into consideration the question of the salary of the Chief Constable during his absence on military duties, and the remuneration to be paid to the Deputy Chief, who is performing his duties, reported that the salary of the Chief Constable is at the rate of £475 per annum, increasing by increments of £25 per annum to a maximum of £600 per annum.  This salary is subject to a deduction of two and a half per cent for Police Pension Fund.

The following are the additional allowances made to the Chief Constable: for the provision and maintenance of a motor-car, £250 a year; travelling and subsistence allowance, £50.  The Committee at their meeting held on the 18th June, 1915, gave directions that these allowances should cease as from the 1st April, 1915.  With regard to the salary, they recommended that the Chief Constable be paid two-thirds salary during his absence on leave, namely £317, this arrangement to take effect as from the 1st April, 1915.  The Chief Constable also receives £192 10s. for other duties as mentioned above.  The salary of the Deputy-Chief is £305, and it was proposed to make certain re-adjustment so as to remunerate him for his extra responsible duties.

The Hon A. Holland-Hibbert asked; ‘Is it any use my making any remarks if this Council has got no power over the Standing Joint Committee?’

The Chairman: ‘None whatever.’

The Hon A. Holland-Hibbert: ‘I think this matter ought to go back even if we have no power, because I think an expression of opinion from this Council would have weight with the Standing Joint Committee.  It seems to me that no man ought to make a profit out of serving his country, and that no man belonging to or in the service of this Council ought to receive a larger salary because he has gone out to do his duty.  I believe this Council wishes to be just, nay, more than that, it wishes to be generous to any of its employees who have gone to join the forces, and I believe that Major Law himself would be the very last man who would be willing to accept an increase of salary because we allowed him to leave his employment and join the forces.

As far as I can gather if we give him two-thirds of his salary, with his pay as major he would be getting very considerably more than he gets as Chief Constable, and it seems to me that all we can ask the ratepayers in justice to do is to place the man who leaves our employ to serve his country in exactly the same financial position as he was when he was serving us.  (Applause).  That is the position I take, and, I feel very strongly about it.  I think, considering the number of men who have gone out and sacrificed their prospects, sacrificed every mortal thing they have got in the world, even their lives, it is not becoming of this Council to take out of the ratepayers’ pockets an increased salary for a man who has joined the forces.  (Applause).  I believe an expression from this Council to that effect would have great weight with the Standing Joint Committee, and I move, therefore, that this question of the Chief Constable’s salary be referred back for further consideration.

The Chairman : ‘I don’t think that would be in order.  I have very great doubts as to whether this report and recommendation ought to have been submitted at all, because it is a report of a sub-committee of the Standing Joint Committee and would have no effect.

The Hon A. Holland-Hibbert : ‘Then may I move that this Council heartily disapproves of the recommendation of the committee?’

The Chairman: ‘Yes.’

The Hon A. Holland-Hibbert: ‘Then I will do so.’

Mr Grafton said the Council had not got sufficient information with regard to the Chief Constable’s salaries to know how to vote on this question.  He had looked through the reports and had found it impossible to ascertain what the Chief Constable’s salary was when he left the Council’s service and what it was at the present time.  All it told the Council was that he started with a salary of £475 per annum, to be increased by £25 annually until it reached £600, and that he received in addition £250 for the maintenance of a motor-car, and £50 for travelling and subsistence.  It did not state how many increases he had had, and therefore it was not possible to get at his actual salary at the present time.  In addition to the above salaries and allowances he also received £192 10s. for other duties, so that it was somewhat complicated.

The Chairman said the amounts proposed to be paid were £317 and £128 6s. 8d..

The Vice-Chairman pointed out that the Council had already passed the £128 6s. 8d., and yet they were told they had no control over these things.

The Chairman said he put the motion and no one objected.

The Hon A. Holland-Hibbert : ‘It was quite an accident.  We were caught napping. (laughter). We were not sharp enough to realize what was happening.

The Earl of Verulam : ‘What may happen is that a very valuable servant of ours who has gone to assist his country in her hour of need may possibly have a distinct slur cast upon him by the action of the County Council.  (Cries of : ‘No, no.’) It will hold up this Council to execration for the action it has taken and the very bad example it has set if this matter is referred back. (Cries of: ‘No, no’.)

Lieut-Col. A.H. Smith seconded Mr Holland-Hibbert’s motion.

Mr Pank: ‘Would it not be very much better if the Standing Joint Committee after today’s discussion were to take into consideration at its next meeting the salary of the Chief Constable.  We know that the County is saving £250 of his salary, and we know that the pay of lieutenant-colonel is something like 22s. or 23s. per day.

Lieut-Col. A.H. Smith: ‘More than that for staff appointment.’

The Chairman: ‘Not necessarily.  My son has a staff appointment, but no staff pay.’

Mr Cranford: ‘My son gets staff pay.’

Mr Pank: I think it would be unfortunate to attempt to settle the question without the whole of the particulars before us as to how much he gets and what it costs him above his ordinary living.

The Hon A. Holland-Hibbert: ‘I should be the very last to attempt to cast any slur upon the Chief Constable.  I think he is a man we all respect.  We think he is an extremely efficient man, very keen on his work, and a capable and admirable official.  I am not in the least wishing to cast a slur upon him, but I do wish to cast a slur upon, if you like to put it in that way, the decision of the committee, because when the question came before the finance committee not a single member of that committee knew what the Chief Constable’s position was.  I asked what his Army pay and allowances were, and not a soul knew.

Therefore, I feel that the committee did not properly consider this question.  I see no slur in my resolution, and I am perfectly willing to word it any way you like as long as the matter is re-considered, not from the Chief Constable’s point of view, but from the committee’s point of view.

Mr Cranford: ‘I think we ought to re-adjust his salary so that he does not lose or gain. (Hear, Hear.)

Mr Holland-Hibbert’s amendment was then carried with only three dissenters, and the matter referred back to the Committee.

The Chairman: ‘I am very sorry.  If Major Law resigns we shall be in a very nice position.’

Mr Stride: ‘Have we not now to deal with the Chief Constable’s salary as Chief Inspector of Weights and Measures and so forth?’

The Vice-Chairman: ‘That is what I want to know.’

The Chairman : ‘No, I must rule that out of order; it has already been passed.’

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