Friday, 10 May 2013

Town Hall Tycoons


The annual Town Hall Rich list was published today by the Taxpayers' Alliance. Carmarthenshire earns a special mention as having twelve employees earning over £100,000, the highest in Wales and two more than last year. The list also includes a mystery salary of £157,500 which doesn't appear on the Council accounts, the accounts themselves record an employee leaving last year within this salary range with a pay off of £126,000. Whether the two are connected I couldn't say, but despite the fact that all employees earning over £150,000 are required to be named, this entry remains anonymous. By my calculations, the combined remuneration of thirty senior council employees comes in at over £3m. Carmarthenshire also topped the BBC league table a couple of weeks ago for having the highest paid senior officer in Wales.

I can't really comment at the moment on whether we're getting good value for money here in Carmarthenshire, but the issue of whether this is all a bit much, particularly for a county with a population of 180,000 gets brought up every year. And every year the respective Leaders rush to the defence of their senior officers, for years it was Meryl Gravell (Ind) who has now passed the baton of unswerving loyalty onto Kevin Madge (Lab).
Local Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas (Plaid) is trying to amend the Local Democracy Bill to; "..take senior pay out of the hands of council officers and put it under the remit of an all-Wales independent remuneration body. Plaid Cymru are also seeking to abolish extra payments for returning officers at local elections.."
Seems a good idea to me.

Updated 19th May; The Western Mail reports on public sector executive pay and the chart topping fat-cattery of Carmarthenshire Council. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/more-50-welsh-council-bosses-3867881
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Briefly onto the subject of webcasting and the promised pilot look set to begin with next week's AGM (Wednesday 15th May, 10am). Nothing controversial for the first outing; the Leader's tribute, allocation of Committee Chairs etc  Members have been trained, apparently, on what not to wear (stripes, zig zags, fancy dress), how to appear awake, and of course what not to say. For the majority that won't be a problem as they don't say anything anyway.
Still, we'll wait and see.
The agenda also includes, in CAPITAL letters, (and after two years of wrestling with it all);

PLEASE NOTE: THIS MEETING MAY BE FILMED FOR LIVE OR SUBSEQUENT BROADCAST VIA THE COUNCIL'S INTERNET SITE. THE IMAGES AND SOUND RECORDING MAY ALSO BE USED FOR TRAINING PURPOSES WITHIN THE COUNCIL

AT THE START OF THE MEETING THE CHAIR WILL CONFIRM IF ALL OR PART OF THE MEETING IS BEING FILMED.

GENERALLY THE PUBLIC SEATING AREAS ARE NOT FILMED. HOWEVER BY ENTERING THE MEETING ROOM AND USING THE PUBLIC SEATING AREA, MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ARE CONSENTING TO BEING FILMED AND TO THE POSSIBLE USE OF THOSE IMAGES AND SOUND RECORDINGS AS OUTLINED ABOVE.

Carmarthenshire Council will of have, of course, and for the very first time, a recording of everything that is said. And so will we..well, for twelve meetings anyway.
My judgement, for now, is reserved.

Here's Cneifiwr's post on the subject; Lights, camera...action!

5 comments:

Through the key hole said...

Carmarthen council live broad cast, I can’t wait.
Puppets are only as good as the people pulling the strings.

Anonymous said...

This statement strikes me as odd, "At the start of the meeting the Chair will confirm if all or PART of the meeting is being filmed." Anyone care to shed any light on this?

Anonymous said...

Curiouser and curiouser.Training purposes,all or part of meeting to be filmed,wardrobe advice? A lot of stage management going on methinks!
Transparency? I won't be holding my breath.

caebrwyn said...

Thanks for comments. The problem is that the webcasting is not being embraced by the majority of cllrs in the spirit it should be. For many it represents an unwelcome intrusion into a private club. The chief executive said (on Radio Carms) that no one will be interested and no one will watch - this is a very negative approach, surely he should be encouraging and promoting any improvement in transparency in Carms, and getting that message across to reluctant Members?
It's not so much about hits or numbers, although I hope there's stood few, it's about it being there.

Ty said...

Has anyone dared tell the Chief exec. that he is a public SERVANT, that he works for us ?