In the August 2nd blog Are We Nuts Overpaying Monkeys?, some harsh views were expressed about senior council officials in general, although care was taken not to explicitly refer to any council and certainly not to impugn any individual.
Nonetheless, feedback has been received from individuals who felt that they were being referred to as monkeys and, given that we intended no personal slur, to those who felt thus maligned we extend an apology. We also did not wish to give any impression that the private sector garden was all roses either.
The point nonetheless remains that, from what was once a ‘calling’ of public service where council officials were originally poorly paid for their service and generally compensated in this by having a secure job for life and a comfortable pension at the end of it, the substantial hikes in public sector salaries—especially among senior management teams—has resulted in any clear distinction between top salaries in private and top salaries in public bodies of comparable size disappearing when all benefits are considered.
Seen from the lower paid echelons, top salaries in both private and public sectors are both seen as excessive in times of fiscal reductions, especially if they lead to involuntary job losses largely among the lower paid and reductions in public services. If there was a single point to be made by the previous blog, it was this:
Senior public officials in Scotland have enjoyed a decade or more in untrammelled salary growth in a relatively protected environment. Times have changed. The idea that they can continue at their salaries and benefits without demonstrating measurable and substantial efficiency improvements with the public monies in their care is an illusion.