Tuesday 30 December 2008

Freer’s in a Pickle!

Shadow Community Secretary Eric Pickles announced today that the next Conservative government will purge the fat cats from Town Halls. Officers earning six figure salaries will lose their jobs as councils are forced to merge frontline services and backroom operations in order to save taxpayers money.

In Barnet, we employ 13 officers earning more than £100,000 per annum. The recently departed Chief Executive Leo Boland was on £185,000. In the light of Mr Pickles’ announcement, will Mike Freer ignore Conservative Party policy and appoint another overpriced snout in the trough to replace him?

A Conservative Party source said: “There is super-inflation of chief executive pay that bears no correlation to the level of services they provide. There is a bureaucracy and self-feeding hierarchy of senior officials that are completely unaccountable to the local community...This urgently needs to be addressed.”

The new Conservative policy also throws a spanner in the works for Freer’s pet project - The Future Shape of the Council. For whilst Future Shape talks about drastically slimming down the council by “outsourcing” services, there are no plans to reduce the numbers of chief officers.

Now that these senior officers are facing the order of the boot along with the rank and file, let’s see if they are still willing to support Freer’s privatisation plans. Barnet could be heading for its very own Winter of Discontent.


Anonymous said...

This is really fantastic news. It seems that the Conservative Party is going to force renegade Councils like Barnet to start delivering for their residents.

Hooray for proper Conservatives like Eric Pickles and Boris Johnson.

Here's hoping and praying that the General Election comes soon and they can save us from Barnet's Town Hall politicians by:

Firstly but cutting Fat Cat expenses and salaries.

Secondly by preventing unelected Mike Freer's mad rush to turn Barnet into Docklands by imposing 50,000 high rise rabbit hutch flats on the borough. He campaigned against building flats to turf out Salinger, now in his palatial offices in his ivory tower he works with the out of touch fat cat Officers, property developers and Gordon Brown to make Barnet skyscraper city.

Hooray for the Conservative Party to get us out of this mess.

Duncan Macdonald said...

The Times coverage of the Pickles story lists the eight top earning local council chief executives. The list makes interesting reading. Of the eight listed six are Tory controlled.

Bexley (Conservative)
Ealing (Conservative)
Hertfordshire (Conservative)
Kensington & Chelsea (Conservative)
Kingston upon Hull (Lib Dem)
Newham (Labour)
Suffolk County Council (Conservative)
Surrey County Council (Conservative)

Don't Call Me Dave said...

To which you can now add the Conservative controlled GLA. Our Leo goes straight in at number 4= with his new salary of £205,000.

The statement by Eric Pickles demonstrates that the Conservative Party now realises the damage which has been caused to local authorities and democratic accountability by Labour’s Local Government Act 2000. It is this Act which heralded the changes that have allowed councils to pay fat cat salaries to officers and councillors. I hope that it will be repealed or amended as soon as possible.

I assume Mr Hope's comments above relate to Boris's housing policies - not staff appointments!

Anonymous said...

Good news indeed!

Even if we must have monkeys running the show, they are still getting much more than peanuts! But I see in The Times that other Tory plans include "scrapping the Standards Board, the local government watchdog, and shrinking the council inspection regimes".

The Standards Board may not be very effective, but should we be worried? Who is going to keep an eye on the Councils?

Don't Call Me Dave said...


The Standards Board has only been handling ‘serious’ cases recently. Councils are already required to deal with minor cases themselves. No conflict of interest there then!

Ever since the Board failed to discipline a certain anti-Semitic old lush, its days were numbered.

It now requires the eternal vigilance of Citizen Journalists to keep councils in check.

Rog T said...

Boland isn't the only dodgy appointment by Boris. What about Coleman at the Fire Authority?

Whilst I think Dan is probably correct that Boris is a Tory, I think he's one who is incompetent and is proving to be a bit of a liability with his continual displays of poor judgement.

I suspect that for many Tories, come the end of the Boris regime (whenever that may be) the only real achievement in their eyes will be that he got rid of their no 1 bogeyman - St Kenneth of Livingstone.

As a big fan of Ken, I think Mike Freer has been most ungracious about Ken, given that he's nicked many of his ideas on how to run a council, 25 years after Ken first tried them. I seem to recall how the Tory press hammered ken for his palace coup to displace the elected leader Mackintosh. They also hammered him for his "diversity program". It's a shame Mike hasn't copied some of his better policies though such as Fares Fair !!!