Saturday, 31 March 2007

Councillors Severance Pay : A Message to Rayleen

Rayleen decided to publish my last post, but she isn't happy about it. She says that it doesn't deserve a response and that is always a prelude to censorship, so just in case I will post a copy of my response below :-

Rayleen—I can’t think why my comments should not deserve a response but think of these questions
First . At about 18 years of service the severance would be as follows :-

‘The Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Severance Payments) Regulations 2006
Section 5 . 1 . (c) £20,000 for a member of a local authority who shall, at the date of the next ordinary election, have served for a period of 15 complete years or more.’

I invite you again to ask your constituents if they believe that the retiring councillors deserve this amount of money

Second The remuneration committee looked at the question of pensions and decided as follows :-

‘Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee

Current arrangements

4.1 There are no arrangements currently in place to allow councillors to be part of an occupational pension scheme. Councillors who wish to make pension provision must make private arrangements, using part of their basic and special responsibility allowances’

So the pension was built into the allowances and councillors were expected to make provision themselves.

Third The payment is not a thank you for service to the community, it is a direct bribe for dead wood time-servers to go away and stop preventing innovative people from advancing better ideas and programmes. They must leave government totally (if they go into the Scottish Parliament then they will not be eligible) and the reasons are in this BBC report which says

‘Critics are likely to portray the severance scheme as a way of placating Labour councillors in the central belt likely to lose their seats under the new electoral system.

The executive argued, however, that it would be a one-off move that would provide some incentive for long-standing councillors to stand down and make way for fresh blood in Scotland's town halls.’

It could hardly be clearer without being downright insulting.

Finally, I am also grateful to the councillors for retiring, because they let the problems in our communities flourish for so long. I am not on the sidelines sniping, I am and have been actively trying to remove them (in line with your own policy) for some length of time. I only regret that I couldn’t embarrass them into going sooner and without a large wedge of public money that they scarcely deserve.

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