Should council bosses be paid more than PM?

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Dr Crippen is a bit (belatedly) upset that the Taxpayers Alliance have criticised the Chief Executive of Kent County Council’s £229,999 salary.

It turns out that Peter Gilroy is a former nurse which, it would appear, perfectly justifies a taxpayer-funded salary that most of us mere mortals can only dream of.  Kent County Council have increased their Council Tax by 3.9% this year and that’s before parish, police, fire and NHS precepts have been added on.

The Queen has cancelled her diamond wedding anniversary party this year because she thought that such extravagance was insensitive in light of the financial difficulties of the population, it’s a shame local authority Chief Exec’s don’t have the same sense of empathy with the people who pay their wages.

I don’t understand how anyone can justify paying the Chief Executive of a local authority more than the Prime Minister, even if said Prime Minister is a vacuous little shit and a part time MP.  I can’t speak for residents of Kent but I know that the current and previous Chief Executives of Telford & Wrekin have been contemptable Liebour stooges who treated residents like inconvenient piggy banks and elected councillors like obstructions to the advance of their empire.  The previous incumbent at Telford & Wrekin, Micheal “The Traitor” Frater, rubbed everyone up the wrong way in Telford, was almost universally despised in the borough and then trotted off to Nottingham where he’s been given the order of the boot after less than two years because he did exactly the same there.  He’s one of the highest paid Chief Executives in the country and he’s shit.

Regardless of the history of a Chief Executive – whether they were a successful businessman, the Pope’s foot rubber or a bloody dustman – the taxpayer should not be expected to pay the kind of salary you’d expect to see the Chief Executive of a large corporation to be earning.

I think perhaps the problem is that local councils are increasingly being run as a business rather than a service.  They don’t have residents any more, they have “customers”.  They rarely provide services themselves, they contract them out to private (often foreign-owned) companies.  Telford & Wrekin actually set up their own private company using taxpayers money to contract their own work out to themselves and then sold it to a Spanish company!  Then there are the “regeneration partnerships” set up with unelected regional quangos and “the business community”.

Local government is a public service, supposedly an instrument of democratic government; it is not the private sector and those working in local government should be doing it because they’re interested in public service, not three figure salaries.

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9 comments

  1. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    It is absoultely obscene. As everyone else in the public sector is told to put up with what are in real terms pay cuts – police, nurses, teachers, refuse collectors, etc – and getting blamed for inflation…

    “Local government is a public service, supposedly an instrument of democratic government; it is not the private sector and those working in local government should be doing it because they’re interested in public service, not three figure salaries.”

    I whole-heartedly agree. Now, I know the Taxpayers Alliance are a corporate thinktank who say nothing about the costs of privatisation – but I’m not complaining that they’ve brought this obscenity to light. Councillors, like members of parlaiment, are elected to serve the public and should be paid no more than the average member of the public earns.

  2. axel (1214 comments) says:

    but……

    You pay a road sweeper to sweep the roads and he gets the relevent wage.

    You pay a company director to be a company director and he gets paid the relevant amount too.

    We do need professional competent managers to run our councils and if you dont pay the going rate, where are you going to get them from?

  3. wonkotsane (1117 comments) says:

    And a competent manager to run a local authority requires a salary in excess of the person (rightly or wrongly) running the country?

  4. Allie (93 comments) says:

    Axel’s right; you pay the going rate for someone with the skills to run a large organisation, employing lots of people. If the council chief executives are being paid more than the Prime Minister, then doesn’t that show the PM is underpaid?

    And who are the Taxpayers Alliance anyway? I think calling them a ‘corporate thinktank’ is flattering them somewhat, don’t you?

  5. axel (1214 comments) says:

    The person running the country is a cock!

    Also, the CEO is a proper job not an oppurtunistic democratic choice.

    How does his wage compare with the civil service mandarins?

  6. wonkotsane (1117 comments) says:

    The TPA is mostly just “ordinary” people like you and I who have had enough with public servants taking the piss.

    The Prime Minister is not underpaid – working in government (national or local) is a public service, if you’re in it for a massive salary then you’re not the right person for the job.

    Chief Executives are figureheads, they come up with broad policy and strategy. They are responsible for making sure that what the councillors say they want to happen happens. Officers are the ones that wield the real power, they’re the ones who make the decisions. Chief Executives don’t need to be paid that much money for what is effectively a role of “middle man”.

  7. Allie (93 comments) says:

    I’ve never read anything produced by the Taxpayers Alliance that I’ve agreed with, so they’re not ordinary people like me.

    No, council chairmen/leaders are figureheads. Chief Executives are the people in overall charge of managing the organisation. Officers implement law and policy (and are managed by the team led by the chief executive), and councillors make decisions based on the officers’ recommendations.

  8. Allie (93 comments) says:

    Having just visited the Taxpayers Alliance website, I see the homepage is mostly a collection of links to the blurtings of whingeing bloggers.

    Oh, I see what you mean now.

  9. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    No what I mean about TPA is this:

    “There are about 30 million taxpayers, yet the “alliance” that says it speaks for us all was created by three people, now with seven full-time staff. The three founders, Andrew Allum, a former Conservative councillor, Florence Heath, a geologist and former Young Conservative, and Matthew Elliott, co-founder and former Tory researcher, are hardly representative.

    “Elliott describes the alliance’s values as “classical liberal”. The TPA was launched out of frustration with the Tories for abandoning their traditional tax-cutting stance.

    “They boast 18,000 registered supporters of whom 3,000 have donated money, but their real success is media coverage.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/mar/17/tax.pressandpublishing?gusrc=rss&feed=politics

    And here’s why they never moan about Private Finance Initiatives or the creeping privatisation of our healthcare and education systems, a long list of supporters from capitalist circles along with the odd useful idiot(http://tpa.typepad.com/about/2007/07/supporters.html

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