The mayor’s cost-cutting friends


by Sunny
23rd May, 2008 at 9:04 am    

I know the Evening Standard is still in honeymoon period after helping elect Boris Johnson but its slobbering praise for Boris Johnson must surely be becoming a bit embarassing to his supporters?

“A private equity millionaire branded ‘The Prince of Darkness’ for his ruthless costcutting has been appointed Boris Johnson’s chief of staff,” gushes the London paper. Tim Parker is now Boris Johnson’s fifth deputy mayor. Presumably Boris will be so busy writing his weekly column for the Telegraph and other duties that he needs so many deputies around him. It isn’t just that, “We now have a First Deputy Mayor, three notional deputy mayors and a statutory Deputy Mayor whose responsibilities seem extremely vague to say the least.”

It’s also that:

Deputy mayor Richard Barnes, who will technically stand in for his boss in his absence, earns £92,594 for his role. However his executive counterpart, deputy mayor for government relations Ian Clement, will pick up £124,364 while deputy mayor for young people Ray Lewis is unpaid at present but is expected to receive about the same.

The fourth deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse, will only be paid his Assembly member’s salary of £53,543 to run policing. There are still unanswered questions about his status as both an elected official and a member of the executive he is supposed to scrutinise.

Former BBC political correspondent Guto Harri, the Mayor’s director of communications, will earn £124,364. He gave up a lucrative position with PR firm Fleishman-Hillard to join Mr Johnson’s team. Director of transport Kulveer Ranger will earn £100,000 while director of arts and culture Munira Mirza will receive £80,000.

Mmm…. mooolah. Maybe the first round of cost-cutting could go towards all the deputy mayors and their £100k+ salaries? Another advisor was also going to be paid about a £100k before it turned out it possibly wasn’t legit. No mention of “exorbitant salaries” yet on the Evening Standard’s articles.

Oh and this is also quite amusing. The Mayor’s own cultural advisor preumably opposes his policies to ban drinking on the tube (you heard it here first!). Munira Mirza co-founded the Manifesto Club. MC opposes drinking ban on the tube. I see a story there!
Update: The Observer picks it up.


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  1. unitalian — on 23rd May, 2008 at 9:37 am  

    The trouble with this Sunny – while I’m sure we all look forward to your anointment to a safe-ish seat in the election-after-next – is that most of us are so jaded with Labour that it won’t wash, at least until they actually do something worthy of unmanufactured opprobrium.

    This kind of thing feels symptomatic of the 10 years of spin that has left the country swinging 18 per cent the other way.

    What an accomplishment – after a decade of Labour, the Brits prefer the seeming honesty of old Etonians.

    Blimey.

  2. cjcjc — on 23rd May, 2008 at 10:17 am  

    Unfortunately such sums are nowadays the going rate for this kind of public sector job.
    Which is no reason not to pillory Boris on the subject, especially if he is paying more than Ken.
    Is he?

  3. Leon — on 23rd May, 2008 at 12:23 pm  

    The trouble with this Sunny – while I’m sure we all look forward to your anointment to a safe-ish seat in the election-after-next

    You think Labour are going to have any safe seats in the election after next?

  4. Sunny — on 23rd May, 2008 at 3:11 pm  

    while I’m sure we all look forward to your anointment to a safe-ish seat in the election-after-next

    After the kicking I give Labour all the time?

    What an accomplishment – after a decade of Labour, the Brits prefer the seeming honesty of old Etonians.

    No doubt, but that doesn’t mean anyone should let the new Mayor off the hook.

    Unfortunately such sums are nowadays the going rate for this kind of public sector job.

    Bizarre cjcjc, you never said that earlier on when Ken was paying his “cronies”…

  5. unitalian — on 23rd May, 2008 at 4:21 pm  

    Yes Sunny, after the “kicking” you give Labour all the time. It’s called constructive criticism, innit?

    Will there be safe seats though Leon? Good question. One can only hope that the Tory victory will be diminished to the extent that they are obligated to deal with the Lib Dems, thus ushering a more democratic system (the only reason I can see for voting LD, BTW).

    Then we won’t have as many safe seats as such, but we will have lists…

  6. marvin — on 23rd May, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    Logic dictates that paying someone 100k salary is worth it if they are going to save the tax payer millions of £££.

    As opposed to paying someone 100k to squander tax payers money on daft and fraudulent projects.

  7. Justforfun — on 23rd May, 2008 at 5:53 pm  

    Marvin – it will never happen. The system is set up so that blame does not land at the feet of those commissioning the work. The ‘appointees’ are just another layer creaming off the taxpayers money.

    London Transport, believe it or not, were once respected in their field. Decades ago mind. Now they use consultants for everything to insulate the appointed managers from blame; and if one can put up with shit from the TfL staff, who are thoroughly incompetant, but because of they high salaries actually think they know what they are about, then advising TfL is like taking candy from a baby.

    The result of this has been poor standards all around. One starts a project and then it just gets changed and changed and changed and changed , meanwhile you submit your bills, more bill and bills, bills and if you ever had any intention of doing a good job , by the end , you don’t really care and just hope your name does not go on the credits.

    I’m afraid these high salaries just inflate their egos and they think they know what they are doing. But that is how the system was set up at the start of the decade – as a way of channelling funds to political appointees in the guise of ‘advice’. Let them just take their 100K and go on holiday.

    Then :-

    The only solution is for TfL to actually do their own work ‘in-house’ and then sack the ones who can’t perform, instead of wasting money on TfL managers who are really just can’t do the job of managing outside tenders. They just play at it, and sometime, very occassionally I feal guilty taking the money off them. But I have kids to feed :-) The new guy who is Boris’s transport man, who once worked for Nichols, knows the score – he was a consultant, and I doubt he will rock the boat. There is too much money being made by business for him to stop the gravy train and the Conservative Party is not anti – business. Also if he brought the services back in-house, then he and the Conservative Party would be in the spot light – no – thats a bad idea when they now stand a chance of winning in 2010. Better to take the 100k and create more Collateralized Blame Obligations (CBOs)where no one is to blame except the consultants and any problems can be spun away, and the taxpayer picks up the tab.

    So new appointees will just do what ever is required to get the Conservatives in the best light. Saving money does not come into it. The only way saving money will become a priority is if the electate say ‘Bas!’ ‘Enough is Enough’ we will not pay anymore.

    justforfun

  8. Sunny — on 23rd May, 2008 at 6:16 pm  

    unitalian… heh. Well, I am on the left after all. So sue me!

  9. muhamad [pbum] — on 23rd May, 2008 at 7:04 pm  

    marvin @ 6
    the bloody mayoralty is a fraudulent project, that in itself costs the tax payer!

  10. cjcjc — on 24th May, 2008 at 1:45 pm  

    I was more concerned with the very low quality of the Ken cronies…

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