Friday, August 26, 2011

The looters' looter

Brazen in its contempt for public sentiment, the Local Government Group (formerly the Local Government Association) is seeking to appoint a new chief executive, and is ready to pay £190,000 a year. Funded from subscriptions from local government, which it represents, the LG Group is thus far from setting a good example in moderating its salary offers. Instead, it is joining the ranks of the looters with great gusto.

Officially the group, which changed its name from the Local Government Association this summer, has advertised the job for £150,000, with more available for an "exceptional candidate". However its choice, which is likely to be announced in the next few weeks, is certain to be judged exceptional and its salary will be set to come just beneath the £200,000 mark.

Outgoing chief executive John Ransford was paid at the rate of under £100,000 a year in his final months in the job, which means that the new chief executive will be enjoying what amounts to a doubling in salary for a job that has remained unchanged.

And, to add insult to injury, the LG Group brought in a recruitment consultancy to help with the appointment and has put the cost of this at £16,000 – more than many local authority employees earn in a year.

The contempt of the Group, however, is hardly surprising. Its political leader is Tory Sir Merrick Cockell, former leader of Kensington and Chelsea council. Cockell is one of the local councillors estimated to have made more than £100,000 in a single year in allowances paid by various local government bodies of which he has been a member.

But we must not talk of killing these people ... to do so could be construed as an arrestable offence - and it upsets some of our more sensitive readers. We, the little people, should instead smile and be grateful that we have such towering figures looking after our interests, for such a pittance. You know it makes sense.