Town Hall gravy train

AT LAST, another citizen of the town has raised his voice over the Town Hall executive gravy train (County Times letters October 20).

About a year ago I wrote regarding the recruitment of two young people for mediocre jobs on salaries of £60-70,000 and there was little response.

Now we have further excessive salaries being offered. The whole problem lies with the very idea that there is some kind of magic salary level for all council executives starting at the chief executive salary. If he gets £150,000 then the next man down must get ‘x’ and then one below him gets ‘y’ regardless of their ability or the work being worthy of that salary.

Worse is the way they ensure that they can keep their jobs by ensuring that, by what are quite incredible contracts in private terms, should we wish to get rid of them we have to pay them hundreds of thousands in compensation, and within months of receiving this payoff they catch the gravy train to another unfortunate council.

A captain of a cruise ship worth over £150m with 5,000 lives in his care, goes away from his family for over eight months of the year, has a salary of round about £60,000 and no pension fund.

Compare that to the chief executive of a small town in Sussex employing around 300 persons with a salary more than double and allowances and index linked pension to match.

I am sure that other good comparisons could be made by those in private business. Even the council workers must be dismayed at the discrepancies between their wages and the top executive salaries and allowances. The town hall’s response is to say that this is comparable to the salaries other councils pay. Thus the gravy train continues unabated.

All of this on a letters page where at the top of the page we have one of the cabinet members responsible humorously commenting about anything except the town situation and at the bottom our Member of Parliament who makes a point of never commenting on anything to do with the town he represents even though his leader is trying to curb a civil service behaving in exactly the same way!

It is good to see at last even the leader of the Liberal Democrats in council calling for a reduction in the Town Hall staffing levels, but he failed to mention that this must start at the top.

This town hall ivory tower is looking down on many people to whom just day to day living is becoming more difficult.

The phrase ‘let them eat cake’ distinctly comes to mind. For democracy to work it requires opposition, something that has been lacking for far too long in Horsham.

MICHAEL RAWLINGS-LLOYD

Brighton Road, Lower Beeding