The new head of the Local Government Association (LGA) has been hired on a package worth nearly £200,000 a year. Carolyn Downs will replace outgoing interim Chief Executive John Ransford and enjoy a salary of £169,000 plus a generous pension amounting to almost £27,000 per year.
Our Campaign Director, Emma Boon offered her reaction to the news:
“The LGA lobbies government to further its own political interests and
agitates for higher pay for senior council staff, so it’s unsurprising to see them giving their own chief executive such a great deal. This salary is an insult to ordinary families and shows how out of touch the LGA is with taxpayers who fund it and with public sector workers who are subject to a two-year pay freeze.”
Eric Pickles has urged pay restraint across all councils, however the size of this package shows the LGA think such control does not apply to them. This local government lobbying organisation does not act in taxpayers’ interests. Councils spend millions of pounds in total each year in subscriptions to the LGA for supposed benefits many rarely use. Earlier this year Windsor and Maidenhead council concluded they could put their £40,000 annual subscription to better use. As for the services they receive in return, they decided that it would be cheaper for them to source them on an ad hoc basis.
They are not the only ones though, Barking & Dagenham and Greenwich in London, Test Valley, South Cambridgeshire and Rutland councils have all served notice to leave. This is in addition to Rochford, Doncaster, Slough, Barnet, Kingston upon Thames and Sutton councils, who have all served out their notice.
While the eye-watering pay packet is hardly the act of an organisation in touch with ordinary taxpayers, the LGA can at least be commended for displaying the remuneration package of their incoming Chief Executive on the front page of their website. Despite being an organisation funded by taxpayers and entirely concerned with local government, it does not fall under the Freedom of Information Act.
Innovative councils do not need spoon-fed assistance from the LGA and are beginning to leave. The size of the pay packet for its new chief should provides another reason for councils across the country to reconsider their membership of this costly organisation.