29 Mar 2009

A NATIONAL DISGRACE: £1.5 million payoff for 8 parly bosses

This is a national disgrace, a symbol of how far we have fallen short of these high aspirations we had of our new parly only ten years ago.. I re-produce below in full the article in today's Sunday Herald on payoffs to 8 senior parliament staff totalling £1,5 million below. I intend to post much more later, but I already know what is going on.

I worked at the parly fot 7 years, know exactly the set up, who's who's and how they inter-relate - indeed who appointed them, and what they were paid in the first place. So if you are a bemused MSP wanting more info please to contact me.

But you probably won't, as it will beg the question what 129 of you - no, 128, I'll exclude Margo - have been doing for 10 years, other than presiding over one of the worst public sector bodies in Scotland. And you can blame nobody but yourselves. It has been the all-party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate body - one Labou,r one SNP, one Lib Dem and one Tory - that has been in charge from day one. And Sir David Steel, George Reid and now Adam Fegusson - your senior statesmen, the consensual pick of your bunch.

Yet you, all 129 of you, are meant to hold the entire public sector in Scotland to account, but can't even hold your own place of work to account, don't seem to have the slightest clue, are propably reading about these obscene payoffs for the first time in the Sunday Herald.
As a result, in my eyes anyway, you have no credibility demanding efficiencies, even the accountabilty of Scottish Goverment departments , local councils, quangos and the rest of us, as you preside over one of the worst public sector bodies in Scotland. And set up only 10 years ago, by the Convention parties and with belated SNP and Scots Tory buy-in. Nae Maggie T, these English and co to blame for this mess.

And in the name of people of Scotland

But just do any reasonable like for like comparisson with the costs of running Holyrood with any parly in the world - even fully independent ones, and you will see instantly just how inefficient Holyrood is. ( something in my time the senior officials point blank refused to do, indeed they even rubbished an Irish Parliament consultants report that put Holyrood as bottom of their international efficiency league table)

We know what they wasted on that building- we got a disfunctional building worth £150m tops, but paid £450m. But the very same people who mismanaged this, still blow close to £50 million every year, year on year and rising just running the place. Ask how much it costs the Catalans - population 6 million, many more powers than Holyrood, check out a comparable sized Lander in Germany, a US state, or even the Irish Dail.

And our democratic reps don't seem to care - indeed they are in on the act. Did you for example know one of seven Bills currently going through Holyrood is one to improve MSP pensions? A national priority of course in these trying times, these poor put upon impoverished MSPs worried about their future ( well some should be!) . And these new improved pensions all set up by the senior parly staff , who are in turn benefiting from these obsence payoff. Nice wee number, nice cosy arrangement.

Nigel Griffith only screwed one person in the Commons. This mob are screwing 5 million of us every day at Holyrood.
Enough for now, but here's the Sunday Herald article to be getting on with.

Holyrood boss under fire as eight staff share £1.5m pay-off
By Paul Hutcheon

HOLYROOD CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAUL Grice has been criticised after eight senior parliament staff shared an early retirement pot of at least £1.5 million. The deal is worth the equivalent of £190,000 for each of the Holyrood bosses.

The redundancy round was sparked after Grice accepted recommendations from his colleague Carol Devon to cut the number of senior management posts. Devon ended up as the main beneficiary of the plan after her application for redundancy landed her up to £270,000.
Holyrood's head of personnel Ian Macnicol, head of security Bill Anderson and Ian Perry, head of the external liaison unit, all negotiated deals. Patsy Richards, head of the parliament information centre, and three clerk team leaders will also benefit.

These seven include two employees at grade seven, who earn up to £71,327, and five at grade six, whose salary reaches £58,022. Devon's salary, according to parliament accounts, came in at up to £95,000.

The £1.5m is a combination of lump sums and pension payments. If Devon's sum is taken out of the equation, the seven others stand to benefit from an average gain of £175,000. The Sunday Herald understands one of the seven had a short length of service and is unlikely to have received a large sum.

The payments have led to criticism of Grice, who approved the early retirement applications, although the parliament insists the plans will yield savings. Grice has already been rebuked over his role in the cost overruns surrounding the Holyrood project.

The payments raise further questions about public-sector bodies paying out hundreds of thousands of pounds to senior staff in pay-offs. North Lanarkshire Council has spent almost £2m on early retirement and severance since 2007, while Scottish Enterprise (SE) paid over £20m in lump sums. Within that total, four individuals received severance lump sums of over £250,000.
Glasgow City Council paid almost £19m in similar deals, while NHS Lothian confirmed spending around £1.3m in redundancy payments since 2007.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "At a time when many taxpayers are having to postpone their own retirement, or have seen their private pension reduced out of recognition, these pay-outs are totally unjustifiable. Mr Grice has some serious questions to answer."

John Wilson, an SNP MSP for Central Scotland, said: "While large sections of the workforce are concerned about their future, senior parliament staff are leaving with golden goodbyes prior to their normal retirement age. No doubt they will end up on other public bodies, picking up other salaries."

A parliament spokesman confirmed that £1.5m had been allocated for eight staff, adding: "The full expectation is that the team changes will pay for themselves within five years and thereafter deliver annual savings."


Juankerr Sunday, March 29, 2009  

Better than the payoff you got eh?

Alan Smart Sunday, March 29, 2009  

I got ziltch. I resigned. I'm happy to share my story indeed will. But this aint about me. But watch them rubbish me as I try to get the truth out there.

AM2,  Sunday, March 29, 2009  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JuanKerr.com Sunday, March 29, 2009  

Aye we can. It's my stalker the now banned whollyrude/Claire.

I think she had the pudding bowl on too long last time kez gave her a haircut and she thought it was a deprivation chamber she was stuck in.

Anyhow back to article. The levels of payoffs all officials and company heads get these days are all based on bankers salaries from the good times. It's time public sector and Private sector pay was more evenly addressed.

The politicians and company heads were happy enough at the time spouting the line "if you want the best you have to pay the market rate" bullshit.Now we know their worth fuck all and no better than you or I ,we can now have a rebate?

Anonymous,  Monday, March 30, 2009  

i'd thought you 'resigned' before being sacked for bullying?.........or was that your last job with STV? or was it because you were still an activist whilst pulling in the - quite large, in your case - parly salary and using their e-mail to 'proselytise'. One of the brightest of your generation, alan; use it! oppostionalism, for the sake of it is boring.

Unknown Tuesday, March 31, 2009  

I see many of the same problems exist in Scotland that exist in America. If they take your money, smile and then hand them as we did in the U.S..... a 90% income rate on that money.
No one deserves to be paid for running something into the ground.

James Tuesday, March 31, 2009  

All-party? In the first two sessions it excluded the Trots and the Greens, and now it still excludes the Greens. Come on Alan!

Also, even reprinting "Taxpayers' Alliance" comments is poor. These guys are much more your sort of thing:

Alan Smart Wednesday, April 01, 2009  


I stand corrected on your exclusion of the Greens and the Trots ( and more importantly still the Independents) from the SPCB. Margo would have got on over their dead bodies, Denis not far behind. Because the SPCB and its set up is absoutely typical of the four party established concensus we need to challenge and bin. Look where it's ended - not just the building - but now these obscene pay offs and much more without as much as a whimper of "concensual" opposition. Id go as far as suggesting this system was the concious and from theire perspective quite brilliant creation of some high up civil servants.

Taxpayers alliance? - it was only reproduced by me because it was part of the Sunday Herald article i said i was producing "in full" - it would have been a bit "big brother " to edit them out because i did not like them, But no friends of mine, lazy i'd say by Paul Hutchens to go to them in an otherwise sound article- surely he could have gotten more credible critics?

Alan Smart Wednesday, April 01, 2009  

Anonymous ( and why anonymous ?)

It is quite interesting to learn of "the word on the street" ( or ome small but no doubt inflencial streets) about my departures from STV and the Scottish Parliamet. Can I absoutely asure you neither had any thing to do with bullying - or child molesting whilst we are on the subject of myths.

I may go into it in detail one day, but i doubt folk are too interested. But:

STV - my post "Head of Current Affairs" was made redundant by Lord McDonald controlled SMG ten months before the first ever scottish Parliament elections. It was replaced with a merged News and Current Affairs department, headed up by a former head of Communications of the Scottish Labour Party, and ex emplyee and personal freind of Gordon Brown. Work that one out yourself ( and I got handsomely paid off. Money, nor i think performance were the issues)

Scottish parliament? - i was removed, tecnically resigned - for making two joke internet posts about Robert Kilroy Silk under a bogus name ( Dr Roger Dodger!) via a parliament internet account in the depth of the parliametary summer recess. A henious unfogivable offence for a parliamntary employee. I should have wasted £400m and given jobs to my hopelessly underqualified pals and realtves instead. I'd have been promoted.

So there you have it in short - and in my own name Mr anonymous. Next time you try using a name or even a source or two

Oh - you got one thing right. My parly salary was quite "huge" - i'd say about 50% over the market rate for the post I was in. In fact my salary went up by 70% in the seven years i was there - in the exact same post. Just like everone else that worked there. Those who were promted - near all in the cabal of ex Scottish Office chumbs who contol the place - got increases way above that, with now pay off deals to match. And at least as Head of Broadcasting I knew something about broadcasting, Dangerously overqualified for the people's parliament

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