|Red Clydeside 2011|
Glasgow City Council - which is Labour-run of course - made these 'top-up' payments to various local councillors for years despite the fact that it was clearly money for old rope.
In some cases the payments were worth many thousands of pounds - and gave an artificial boost to the salaries of the councillors involved - at a cost to the taxpayer of some £260,000 a year.
The payments were widely criticised for being completely indefensible - yet Labour in Glasgow just thumbed its nose at the critics and defied anyone - to do anything about their shenanigans.
Which the new Scottish Government did in May 2011 - by outlawing such payments though without taking any action against the council - for such a flagrant misuse of public money.
No doubt the voters of Glasgow will remember these events when they come to vote in the May 2012 council elections.
But just in case anyone's forgotten - I'll be doing my level best to remind them.
Brass Neck of the Year (June 17th 2011)
At the eleventh hour and fifty nine minutes - Glasgow finally jumped before it was pushed - with an announcement the other day about ending controversial 'top up' payments to city councillors. Here's what the Herald newspaper had to say:
"Several of Glasgow’s controversial arm’s length organisations are to be wound up or merged, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds, with further cuts to the pay of councillors sitting on outside bodies.
Senior city council officials have begun talks with the chief executives of several of the organisations – Aleos – about the future of the bodies, while some politicians have already received letters saying payments are stopping.
It comes a fortnight after the Scottish Government legislated to stop councillors in Glasgow getting payments for sitting on Aleos, a system which effectively saw them paid twice.
However, despite suggestions Labour would extend places on bodies arguably outside the scope of the legislative changes, the five elected members who sit on the boards of the SECC and City Marketing Bureau, including council leader Gordon Matheson, will no longer receive between £12,000 and £18,000 a year for the posts.
It has also emerged the council is preparing to turn some of the arm’s length bodies into cooperatives, a clear bid to decontaminate the Aleos brand and underpin them with core Labour values.
The payments to councillors sitting on the body’s board have been over £11,000 to the chair and £2200 to the four other politician board members. Their work will now be carried out within the council."
Now I'm not clear what 'core Labour values' were at work - in setting up these ALEOS - or in Glasgow's practice of paying councillors twice - for doing for doing the same job.
The Scottish government announced weeks ago - that it would bring in new legislation to end the practice - and rightly so.
Glasgow City Council has been forced to clean up its act - yet is trying to claim all the credit for doing so.
The reality is that the Labour administration has shown no leadership whatsoever on this issue - so they get my nomination for 'Brass Neck of the Year'.
Because Labour created the problem in the first place - and they should be apologising to Glasgow's council taxpayers - for the terrible waste of public money involved.