Wednesday 4 January 2017

Glasgow City Councillors Coin In An Extra £400,000...For Themselves

Have you ever wondered why so many wealthy businessmen, solicitors, accountants, professional people etc give up their very lucrative careers to become councillors in Glasgow Crooked City Council and work for a paltry £16,234/year salary?

Is it simply a personal sacrifice that these wonderful publicly spirited and selfless individuals choose to bare just so that they can make life better for you and I?

Or could it perhaps be because a councillors job just happens to include immense power and authority (plus more brown envelopes than you can shake a stick at, nudge nudge wink wink)?

If you listened to our wonderful elected officials they would have you believe that they are dedicated to helping, supporting, and improving every facet of our lives in this great city.

And they also strive to save us money too.

A few years ago - with halo's suspended above their heads - our councillors decided that there was too much money being wasted in council departments. These council departments were too big and too interconnected to be efficient and were haemorrhaging money at an alarming rate.

So they set about creating what is known as 'arms length companies'.

The idea was that individual council departments would now cease to be merely parts of the one big council entity and would now become individual separate companies. Departments would be entities in their own right and, as such, would have to stand up on their own financially.

In short, each former department would now become an 'arms length company' and would need to be profitable in it's own right.

On the face of it, it looked like a good idea and councillors were keen to boast to us how much money it would save us. For example, it was common knowledge that when many council departments got close to the end of their financial year they squandered all their left-over budget money on all sorts of stupid and wasteful stuff because, if they didn't, that surplus money would have to be returned to the coffers. Worse still, if a department had surplus money at the end of their year, they would have, in effect, shown that they don't need as much money to operate so would risk their budget being cut for the following year .

It all sounded good on the face of it.

But what councillors were not so keen to tell us was that councillors themselves would now be entitled to claim a 'salary' from these new independant 'arms length companies' for the work they do in them.

The  result?

In addition to their normal salaries, many councillors now get a very handy extra few quid for their 'work' in these companies.

£400,000 extra to be exact.

They include:

James Dornan: £17,046 for sitting on the board of the SECC.

Paul Rooney: £20,294 for the joint police board.

Alistair Watson: £20,294 for chairing the transport body SPT.

Elizabeth Cameron: £14,781 for being vice-chair of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.

Philip Braat: £15,836 as non-executive director of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).

James Coleman: £12,062 for sitting on one of the city's health partnerships.

Gerry Leonard: £15,836 for chairing City Building

Paul Carey: £6335 for sitting on the board of City Markets plus £10,558 for chairing City Parking (more than £17k - nice)!

Ruth Simpson: £10,558 as chair of City Markets plus £15,836 for her role on Cordia LLP, (more than £26k in total - even nicer)!

Now I don't know about you, but everybody I know who has a job, any type of job, goes to work in the morning and, well, works all day in that job. They get paid to be there all day and to do whatever that job requires them to do while they're there. Pretty simple really.

I don't know any, say, mechanics, who work in a garage 5 or 6 days a week for £16,234/year but then demand another £10,000/year if the garage owner asks them to change a few Vauxhall gearboxes and another £15,000/year if they have to service a few Ford Fiestas.

What I mean is a job is a job, and a salary is a salary for that job. There are only so many hours in the day that you can work. So you turn up at your job, work those hours, and do whatever various tasks happen to be part of doing that job.

Councillors should be no different.

Yet, by simply by moving the structure of council departments around, our humble public servants - who we are expected to believe only care about us and selflessly work purely for our benefit at great sacrifice to themselves - are not only now pocketing their usual £16,234/year but they also share in a nice wee extra £400,000 wind fall too.

Nice work if you can get it.