Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bloated local government

Not here, but in England.

It's the same the whole world over, though.  In public service employment, I mean.

“Crazy non-jobs like cheerleading development officers and press officers tasked with spinning propaganda on bin collections provide no value to the public.
“Getting rid of the bloated bureaucracy that has grown in some elements of local government will ensure local authorities can protect front-line services.”

According to the data, the number of people employed by local authorities in Britain stood at 2,728,000 in 1997 when Labour came to power. Last year the figure was 2,907,000. There were 741,702 people on council payrolls who were not in traditional “front- line” jobs such as those in education, social services, recreation, libraries, planning, environmental health, culture, heritage or trading standards.[snip]

Among the jobs that have been spawned by the boom in “non-jobs” were a “bouncy castle attendant” on a salary of £13,000 at Angus council in Scotland and a “cheerleading development officer” in Falkirk.
Yesterday, ministers seized on Liverpool city council’s decision to advertise three highly paid “non-jobs” on a day when it was announcing job cuts in other areas. They were for a director of regeneration and employment on a salary of “up to £140,000”; an assistant director of adult services on £90,000 a year; and an assistant director for supporting communities, also on £90,000 a year. The council said it would be making cuts of £91 million, resulting in closures of libraries, leisure centres and youth projects and hundreds of job losses.

This week it was disclosed that 220 town hall executives received a higher salary than the Prime Minister’s £142,500 a year.
At least 26 chief executives earned more than £200,000 last year and 1,000 council officials more than £100,000...

Ministers point out that public sector productivity fell under Labour while private sector productivity rose. Public sector salaries are now higher than those in the private sector.The TaxPayers’ Alliance has highlighted a series of “non-jobs” advertised by local authorities.
They included North East Lincolnshire council advertising for a “future shape programme manager” on £70,189 per annum.
The campaign group published research which showed that last year councils spent £5 million on 141 jobs for political advisers, £6 million on 183 European officer posts, and £10 million on 350 climate change officer roles.

It's no different  in local government here.  There are lots of small towns in New Jersey--I forget the exact number.  There were 60 in our library consortium alone.  Each had a chief of police, a recreation director, a social worker, a judge, a court clerk, and innumerable persons who were not at their desks because they had gone outdoors for a smoke.  Each one had a desk, a computer, health insurance, paid vacation, and a pension plan.  They all used up their share of oxygen and then some.

I should add that in the library we had part-timers who filled the roles of adjunct faculty in colleges and of slaves in the Roman Empire.  They got no health insurance or paid vacation, had to share a desk and a computer with someone else, and did a great many of the humble tasks that makes the place go on ticking.  These are the people the axe falls on when there is a financial crisis.  Their hours are cut, causing the library doors to be locked at the most inconvenient times.

Meanwhile the director of cheer-leading development or karaoke education gets an annual raise.

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