OPPOSITION councillors are demanding a meeting with the chief executive of West Dunbartonshire Council following a pay blunder.

The council’s gritting bosses have been wrongly receiving thousands of pounds worth of overtime cash.

A whistleblower revealed the scandal through a local newspaper and now councillors are demanding answers.

The “nice little earner” had been used since 2009, making the total amount of taxpayers’ money lost is £64,000.

Cllr Willie Hendrie, deputy leader of the SNP group, said: “I am shocked at the scale of this blunder by the council, so we are going to be meeting with the chief executive Joyce White to find out exactly how it happened, to look for answers and to find out how it will be rectified.”

Greedy bosses above the overtime pay grade had been claiming taxpayers’ cash for checking the weather forecast when out of work and deploying gritters.

Much of the time, the whistleblower says, the highly paid managers would phone supervisors and order them to deploy the vehicles.

The disgruntled employee claimed it was a well-known “perk” of the job and a “good earner” for the chiefs. 

Any local government employee on stand-by in Scotland is entitled to a standard weekly payment of £82 and a disturbance allowance, regardless of grade, rather than a one-hour overtime payment, the council says, as has been the case. After initially refuting the overpayment claims, the local authority has now confirmed “a handful” of staff were overpaid to the tune of £8,000 a year.

A council spokeswoman said the problem has now been rectified.

The whistleblower told another local newspaper: “Following the single status agreement, anyone over grade seven does not get overtime pay because they are on a salary which takes that into account. However, the managers have been receiving these payments and it’s been getting signed off since 2009. Everyone knows about it and it’s a nice perk.

“The overtime consists of them sitting in the house with a computer and checking the weather forecast. If a frost is forecast, it’s at their discretion whether they call up the drivers to get them out but they don’t even do that. They phone a supervisor and tell them to phone the drivers. It’s a good earner for them.”

It is understood the head of the council’s neighbourhood services was made aware of the problem so held a meeting on December 1 and informed staff the payments would end, adding that it had stopped as soon as it had been brought to his attention.

A council spokeswoman said recompense is “open” to the local authority, saying: “A council review has highlighted a wage error leading to a handful of staff being overpaid.

“These payments were in relation to disturbances experienced by employees who were monitoring adverse weather in West Dunbartonshire and calling out the gritting teams.

“It should be recognised that their actions during this time helped keep residents safe on council roads.

“This was a misunderstanding that has now been rectified. It is estimated to have cost the council around £8,000 a year across a handful of staff.”

Cllr Hendrie added: “It looks like the chickens are coming home to roost for West Dunbartonshire Council – This administration is falling apart.”