In 2002, when the Conservatives won control of Barnet Council, Chief Executive Leo Boland was paid the grand sum of £113,100 a year. Since then, Mr B
When he takes over the reins at the GLA in January, our Leo will be earning the staggering sum of £205,000 a year - a rise of 81% in the space of just 7 years. Nice work if you can get it!
Contrary to misconception, I am not opposed per se to large salaries for public officials. What really matters is a person’s ability to do the job that is required of them. If services improve, costs and borrowings are reduced and council tax goes down then, yes, chief executives are worth every penny they are paid.
Those who support the idea of council chiefs earning more than the Prime Minister will tell you that in order to attract the best people, you have to pay the best wages. Quite so. But is Mr Boland the best man for the job?
During his time at Barnet:
- Underhill was sold unlawfully
- Partingdale Lane was re-opened unlawfully
- Council tax increased by 24% in 2003
- The Aerodrome Road bridge project has gone £4 million over budget
- £1.4 million has been spent on near obsolete computers, many of which are now sitting in a store room gathering dust
- £14,000 has been spent on televisions for chief officers
- £28 million of taxpayers money is missing, last seen somewhere near Iceland.
In the private sector, chief executives risk their own capital. There is no gold plated state funded pension for them if their company goes bosoms up.
Council chiefs are paid by us, the taxpayers, yet we have no say whatsoever as to whether we are happy with their performance. We can complain to our councillors until the cows come home, but they claim they don’t have the power to do anything. As Conservative MP Douglas Carswell said recently: “You cannot have public services without accountability to the public. If those you elect are unable to hold those running public services to account, there is no point in democracy.”