SouthEnders: An everyday story of council folk

Now, loyal reader, consider this. All hypothetical, of course.

It’s the first decade of the dynamic 21st century, and the thrusting, high-powered chief executive of a large metropolitan borough, someone on nearly £200,000 per year, is looking for someone to run his area’s parks and recreation department.

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

After a painstaking recruitment process, with all factors considered, the CEO decides to appoint a lifelong local government official from a neighbouring borough, even though the new recruit will soon be 57.

All that experience comes at a price. He’s undoubtedly the best man for the job, but someone tells CEOman that with the new chap being on a six-figure salary, it probably lumbers his new employers with at least £1 million in pension obligations (based on the new director’s public service final salary scheme).

“No cause for concern there,” says  our £200,000 pa CEO confidently. “Our new chap will be staying with us until he is 65!”

Fast forward two years: Out of the blue, our parks and recreation exec decides that, now he’s about to turn 60, it is time to retire, collect his gold watch and start banking that well-earned pension pot, which now has to be paid for in the main by his latest employers, where he has worked for just the past two years, rather than the next door borough where he was based for decades.

What to do for the hero of our story, our thrusting and high-flying CEO?

In the midst of the worst economic recession for nearly a century, and with a central government front-ending massive funding cuts to local authorities, he can’t just go out and recruit another director on a £130,000-plus salary.

After all, some sneak flagged up when he wanted to recruit another top exec (and paid a firm of headhunters a five-figure sum for photo-stating and stapling together a misspelled job description). Apparently, it all looks a bit odd when his council is at the same time making loads of librarians, roadsweepers and ordinary workers redundant.

No, CEOman could not have another bit of bad publicity like that.

So he looks around his office, trying to ignore the construction noises from outside, where a palatial new office is being built, part of a flamboyant £450 million scheme.

And then he has a lightbulb moment.

There sits his planning supremo, the “brains” behind the “masterplan” for their town, which is going to make billions of pounds for their friends working in development companies.

CEOman checks out his colleague. Everyone in the office says that she’s very good, and so she is paid accordingly – about £143,583 a year the last time he checked. Maybe she could get her trowl and wheelbarrow out and look after the parks department as well as rebuilding the town centre?

CEOman wanders over and tempts his planning mastermind with the juicy new, additional job.

Fast forward a couple of weeks: What’s this? CEOman is in his office, using his best joined up writing to draft another job advert.

Now he is also looking for a new planning director. His planning mastermind didn’t want to work in parks, too (suffers from hayfever, or allergic to work, or some such excuse)

What’s a boy to do, eh?

Any resemblence in this scenario to characters living or dead is purely coincidental. Apparently.

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1 Response to SouthEnders: An everyday story of council folk

  1. ndavies144 says:

    “being on a six-figure salary, it probably lumbers his new employers with at least £1 million in pension obligations”

    “…and start banking that well-earned pension pot, which now has to be paid for in the main by his latest employers”

    No it doesn’t. Unlike the Teachers and NHS schemes the LGPS is a funded scheme. Pensions are paid by the fund from whatever has been and continues to be paid in by employee and employer contributions. The employer is “lumbered” only should the fund default.

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