Fire chief Jason Thelwell gets £20,000 bonus

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The firefighters’ union has blasted the decision to pay a hefty bonus to chief fire officer - because he helped SAVE money.

Jason Thelwell will be awarded a £20,000 “performance related bonus” on top of his £138,000 annual salary.

He also gets £30,000 a year in pension contributions, a £4,670 car allowance and £935 worth of private medical insurance.

The bonus, agreed recently by the fire authority, follows the recent revelation that Mr Thelwell’s predecessor Mark Jones was paid a £39,490 bonus last year.

Bucks Fire and Rescue has defended the payment, saying all bonuses are self-funding because they come out of savings achieved during the year.

But the Fire Brigades Union, whose members went on strike last year over a pension dispute, say the money would be better used to give firefighters a pay rise.

Dave Green, National Officer for the Fire Brigades Union, said: “We are aware that both of these Chief Fire Officers will defend their one off performance related payments by insisting they have saved taxpayers’ money in times of austerity.

“ However let us not forget that these are already very well paid individuals who were just doing their job”

Mr Green added: “Firefighters do their job every single day without having had a proper pay rise above l% for five years.

“ It doesn’t sit well with the Fire Brigades Union that CFO’s are being paid extra money for cutting a much needed and valued emergency service.”

A spokesman for Bucks Fire and Rescue said Mr Thelwell’s bonus was based on his appraisal for achieving an “under budget performance”, delivering a new Public Safety Plan and maintaining a high government profile.

Bucks Fire say the chief officer’s £20,000 bonus was not linked to his part in winning approval for the new blue light hub in Milton Keynes.

A spokesman said the bonus decision was made shortly before the hub plan was voted through.

The proposal had met with objections from some councillors and members of the public because it involved the closure of Great Holm and Bletchley fire stations.

Mr Thelwell hails the new multi million pound hub as an “exciting and dynamic” opportunity for Milton Keynes.