Friday, 20 April 2018

Glasgow Pay Bonanza



Here's a post from the blog site archive highlighting a great article by Paul Hutcheon in The Sunday Herald which helped blow the whistle on controversial ALEO 'top-up' payments to councillors in Glasgow.

The ALEO payment scheme was put in place by the Labour-run council of the day, but SNP councillors also benefited with the SNP group leader James Dornan (who is now a Glasgow MSP) receiving £17,046 for sitting on the board of the SECC.

  

Glasgow Pay Bonanza (19/06/11)

The Sunday Herald broke the orginal story on the controversial 'top up' payments to councillors in Glasgow - on 23 August 2009.

I posted the article on the blog site at the time - two years later it's heartening to see that the government has moved to end the practice.

Which essentially involved Glasgow paying councillors twice for doing the same job - at a huge cost to the public purse.

Now that's what I call a pain free cut.

The Sunday Herald's Paul Hutcheon deserves the 'Freedom of Glasgow' - for breaking the story and exposing the scandal - which has saved Glasgow's countil taxpayers a small fortune.

But I doubt he'll get it any time soon - from the present crop of 'city fathers'.   

"Glasgow Pay Bonanza - For Councillors"

"Councillors in Glasgow are enjoying an unprecedented pay bonanza - according to a report in today's Sunday Herald. The report by Paul Hutcheon can be read on line at - www.sundayherald.com

Apparently Glasgow councillors are sharing around £400,000 in top-up payments for sitting on bodies funded by the city council - some key extracts from the report are detailed below.

Dozens of politicians on Glasgow City Council are benefiting financially from the policy of setting up or bankrolling "arm's-length" organisations to deliver public services.

Until recently, these arm's length companies were part of the council - and overseeing what went on was just like everything else - part of an elected councillor's day to day responsibilities.

Scotland's councillors all now receive a minimum salary of £16,234 - as well as pension rights. A limited number in each council - carrying out senior roles - are paid more to reflect their additional responsibilities as leaders, spokespeople and committee chairs.

But according to the Sunday Herald - councillors in Glasgow are sharing an additional top-up pot of around £418,385 - which is not part of the 'official' salary scheme.

On the Labour side, Paul Carey receives £6335 for sitting on the board of City Markets, which was set up to manage the council's fruit and flower market, as well as £10,558 for chairing City Parking.

Aileen Colleran, another Labour councillor, pockets £6335 for being a board member of City Building - the limited liability partnership which repairs the city's social housing - and the same amount for sitting on Glasgow Cultural Enterprises Ltd.

Gerry Leonard, a senior Labour councillor, is listed as being given £15,836 for chairing City Building, while his colleagues Euan McLeod and James Todd pocket £6355 for sitting on the same organisation.

Stephen Dornan, who receives a salary of £22,063, is given another £6335 for sitting on the new Surplus Land and Property body set up by the council, as is his colleague Hanzala Malik.

Ruth Simpson, another senior Labour councillor, is listed as receiving £10,558 as chair of City Markets, and £15,836 for her role on Cordia LLP, set up to provide care services across the city.

Ruth Black, who defected from Solidarity to Labour in 2007, is also entitled to £6335 from her service on Cordia.

The financial declarations also confirm the payments councillors receive for sitting on bodies in which Glasgow City Council has a funding or ownership stake.

Labour's Philip Braat receives £15,836 as non-executive director of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), while James Coleman walks away with £12,062 for sitting on one of the city's health partnerships.

Elizabeth Cameron, the former Lord Provost, is paid £14,781 as vice-chair of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, while Labour's Patricia Chalmers is listed as making £3167 for her role on Glasgow Clyde Regeneration Ltd.

Big ticket earners include Paul Rooney, who makes £20,294 for his work on the joint police board, and Alistair Watson, who receives £20,294 for his work chairing the transport body SPT. Both organisations receive funding from sources other than Glasgow City Council.

Five Labour councillors also share a £60,310 pot for sitting on the city's community health partnerships.

James Dornan, the SNP group leader, makes £17,046 for sitting on the board of the SECC, which is majority-owned by the council.

Kenny McLean, the SNP councillor for Partick West, lands £6335 for board membership of the surplus land LLP, while Grant Thoms receives £6335 for his role on City Parking.

Another Nationalist councillor, David McDonald, is paid £6335 for sitting on another of the local authority's arm's- length bodies, Access, while Iris Gibson is entitled to the same top-up for sitting on City Markets.

Councillors from the Greens and the Lib Dems, as well as the sole Tory member in Glasgow, are not believed to receive any extra payments."

"Fifty two of Glasgow's 79 councillors make more than their £16,234 salary - and the top 10 earners are all Labour representatives - according to the Sunday Herald.

A Glasgow spokesman defends the payments - arguing that councillors should be properly paid for improving council services over recent years.

But in that case why have so many council employees had to fight so hard for their right to equal pay - and why have so many of Glasgow's councillors had so little to say about the rights of their own employees?"