I noticed Angus Council last week appointed a new chief executive, Kathryn Lindsay.
Her salary will be, astoundingly, £128,000.
In Dundee, chief executive Greg Colgan was paid £158,800 in 2022/23.
Again, this figure is astounding.
There are a further five heads of departments in Dundee City Council paid more than £100,000.
Angus has another two executives paid more than £100,000 but a further seven on £96,800.
In Scotland, council executives’ pension contributions are listed separately from their salary.
I don’t know why this is.
According to the Town Hall Rich List 2023, published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Mr Colgan had £27,215 paid into his pension pot, over and above his salary.
Ms Lindsay’s Angus predecessor, Margo Williamson, got £23,412 extra for her pension.
In total, Dundee’s council chief executive was given £187,000 last year.
That’s £15,250 a month.
Elected council leader John Alexander’s salary is less than a quarter of that. Yet he takes the flak when things go wrong or he fails to speak up for the city when he should.
John, I am often critical of you and your mysteriously mute mob of myrmidons but you are grievously underpaid in comparison to your chief executive.
All council executives in Scotland get grossly inflated wages.
Are they issued wheelbarrows (on expenses, obviously) to carry it home?
Fife’s former CEO Steve Grimmond was paid (including pension payments) £213,918 last year.
Perth & Kinross’s Thomas Glen gets £161,000, as far as I can tell from the Rich List.
Compare those figures to an MP, who gets £86,000 a year, or an MSP on £67,000.
The First Minister gets £165,678.
The public deserve an explanation as to why the chief executive of Dundee’s local authority is worth more per year than the most senior political office in the land.
How do council chief executives earn their money?
In what way do these executives give value for money? When are they held accountable for their quality of work? What key performance indicators do they have to meet?
MPs or MSPs should raise questions in one or both parliaments. Better still, parties should have a manifesto pledge to slash these salaries by two thirds.
I suspect executives would attempt to deflect by claiming their pay is the “industry standard” or “going rate for the job”.
Well feel free to seek similar pay in the private sector, if you think you’re worth it.
I’m sure good replacement candidates will step up for a £60,000-a-year job, which is what should be paid.
Councils face a financial abyss next year, not helped by Mr Yousaf’s baffling freeze on council tax. Savage cuts to services are coming.
But top earners in local councils are getting a 3.88% pay rise – £5,580 for Dundee’s chief executive.
The government calculates a free (for pupil) school meal costs the government £2.41. Greg Colgan’s pay rise is 2,315 school meals.
Local chief executives – Kathryn Lindsay, Thomas Glen, Gregory Colgan and new Fife CEO Ken Gourlay – you aren’t worth all that money.
Volunteer to take a pay cut or speak up to justify why you’re worth your fat wage packet.
Ha, as if that’ll happen!