Sunday, 16 June 2013

Excessive council pay rises are not " local democracy".

Wales Online  reports that  " Unions representing thousands of Cardiff council workers have been united in their shock and anger at plans for Boris Johnson’s ex-special advisor to take temporary charge"..

The Labour cabinet wants Sir Peter Rogers, a former adviser to the Mayor of London and chief executive of the London Development Agency, to take the helm from July for at least three months.

Sir Peter, whose salary would be paid by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), will be the council’s most senior official as interim “head of paid service”, but is unlikely to work full-time.

He will help with the search for a permanent replacement for outgoing chief executive Jon House, who is joining PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member and e for finance and economy, who I sometime refer as the  éminence grise of the council but is a bit more open than that , said the cabinet had decided it needed support “to see through its improvement agenda”.

He said people didn’t understand the scale of the challenge Labour faced when it inherited control, with schools on the verge of special measures and some aspects of social services considered “dangerous”.

Coun Goodway said the WLGA offered the services of Sir Peter, adding: “I didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Yes well if WLGA are paying Sir Peter's salary does it mean Welsh Taxpayers outside Cardiff are paying for his services as well.

Unison said it was “appalled” at the use of taxpayers’ money on a highly-paid external consultant when the authority has two senior managers with chief executive experience in its ranks.

The GMB union launched a scathing attack after the revelation, saying Labour’s election victory last year was the “worst thing to have happened to Cardiff council”.

This comes just weeks after the Labour-run council appointed 11 new top-tier directors, including eight external candidates, each on £120,000 to £130,000 a year.

The restructure adds £1.1m to the wage bill, but Labour insists there will be no extra cost as the £3.6m previously spent each year on management consultants will be reduced.

But as Unison why use of taxpayers’ money on a highly-paid external consultant when the authority has two senior managers with chief executive experience in its ranks.

Surely one of these could take the helm for a few months  .

The idea that the Welsh Assembly should intervene in restricting excessive local government executive pay an attack on local democracy John Dixon puts up a convincing case over at Borthlas

But I would argue that excessive pay such as this creates a power bloc of  senior executives and a few senior councillors where not only opposition councillors  are excluded  but a large number of members of the ruling party are out of the loop.

It is not a case of local democracy it is a case of our councils being run by an elite and even if the electorate vote out the  elected members  the  executive seek form a new power bloc with the new council leaders  or the New  council if it felt it couldn't work with them replace the executive with people they feel they can work with ensuring massive payouts to the old executive and pay rises for the new.

It must be brought under control . Where is the democracy where cuts are maid in social services for instance in order to pay the likes of Sit Peter Roger.


  1. I seem to remember that the Kilbrandon report suggested that a new public service should be formed to take in the Welsh civil service and local government. If that had been implemented then chief executives of councils would all be on a national pay scale.... sure you would have some variation but not the variation that we see now and probably not the same level.

    1. I believe that's what they do in the Irish Republic. The County county have career civil servants who act in the same role as chief executives and move jobs on regular basis and are not tied to one council.