Wednesday 17 July 2013

Generous salaries and civic nonsense

It would appear that the Director of Technical Services at Carmarthenshire Council is retiring, I only happen to know that because the council is advertising the post which carries a generous salary of between £111k and £119k per year plus benefits.

This is at a time when the Chief Executive of the council is warning of unprecedented cuts to services somewhere in the region of £12m or even £18m,  next year; "This is the first time I've had to say to Members — 'I don't know where these savings are going to come from"  With education and social care budgets protected, non-statutory services such as economic development, leisure, parks, sixth form transport and whatever else they don't legally have to provide, will take a big hit.

As I understand it, the post of Director of Technical Services is also 'Non-Statutory'....but unsurprisingly, it looks like senior management posts in Carmarthenshire Council will also remain protected.....


Every few weeks, in Carmarthenshire council's strange concept of transparency, the Chair and Consort's Diary is published. As it doesn't specify otherwise, we assume all listed events are attended. Included in amongst the various charity events (and the opening of the evangelical bowling alley) are numerous Civic Dinners, Civic Lunches and Civic church services. These are not local to the County but hosted by other councils across south and mid Wales. In three weeks this month alone, three church services will be attended, one in Powys, one in Torfaen and one in St Clears (ok that's in Carms).

As these are all Civic functions I would make an educated guess that the executive Council chauffeur driven motor is put to use and gently glides expensively around Wales, meeting up with other executive motors to deliver it's cargo to these outdated, pointless and wasteful events.

I can picture the uniformed chauffeurs polishing the motors whilst the great and good rattle their chains over a five course lunch or, if it's a church service, perhaps they're earnestly praying for the poor...

It's all symbolic, to me, of a cap-doffing age which has long passed. If charities, schools and other organisations wish to have the Chair and Corporation attend then that's fine, far be it for me to say anything, although I'm not sure it's sending quite the right message on to our youngsters.

It smacks of an bygone age when unquestioning respect was expected towards civic dignitaries - this does not, and most definitely should not apply these days.

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