Tuesday 18 November 2008

Leo Boland’s 80% wage rise

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 awarded himself has been awarded some rather eye watering increases.

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.
No doubt Mr Boland will claim that none of this was his fault. But in the real world, where chief executives are answerable to shareholders, these matters would be his fault. The buck stops at the top.

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.”


Anonymous said...

I'm sure the council workers who have been offered a rise half the rate of inflation will be overjoyed at the good news about Boland's pay!

Anonymous said...

no mention of the latest pay rises? all top bras will be getting them. and the council workers who do the work get a pay cut. redundancies abound for top brass pay rises.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

If that is correct, then it is morally indefensible. Who has authorised such pay awards?

In the private sector, companies and workers are being forced to tighten their belts to help deal with the recession. Until the council gets back our £28 million, there should be no pay rises for chief officers.