"According to information disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, Anthony Snow was paid £107,580 in compensation when he left his job in September 2009 and the WAO will also have to pay more than £618,000 of his pension contributions until he turns 60."
This comes to a total of more than £750,000 -- yet farcially Mr Snow found himself another well-remunerated public sector job as COO of the Financial Reporting Council quango just six weeks later. Lets put these numbers into context: in this example just one Welsh public servant has received a pay-off amounting to almost half of the putative £2million cuts to the S4C which are currently causing such a fuss. And lets not forget that this is not an isolated incident: remember the hundreds of Welsh NHS executives who had their £50K plus salaries protected for ten years (!) following the reorganisation of the service which cut local health boards down from 32 to just seven?
And yet, despite all this, we are asked to believe by Labour and Plaid Cymru in the Assembly that the Welsh public sector is so unimprovably productive that any budget cuts at all will affect front line services. I'm afraid as just these two examples show, the lack of any competitive or downwards pressure on public sector budgets just leads to an otherworldly profligacy -- especially with regards to top-end public sector salaries. We need look no further than David Bowles' £1,000-a-day pay deal at Anglesey Council to know that this is true.
Only by applying some direct accountability for results in the setting of public sector yearly budget rises can these kind of excesses be avoided in the future. This is one of the reasons why I am a supporter of the coalition proposal to elect police commissioners, as one of the main planks of this policy also includes the need for any rises to the police precept element of council tax to be approved in a local referendum. The Police will be free to explain why they think they need more tax money, and the public will be free to accept the rise or not. In fact I would be happy to see this policy extended to include council tax rises as a whole, whereby local authorities would have to make their case in a local referendum. Based on the council's record and future plans, local residents can then decide what level of settlement they feel is fitting.
Imagine how much more engaged Ynys Môn residents would be with local politics and with the actions of councillors if we had the opportunity to hold Anglesey Council to account in this way. Imagine how much better services the council would need to provide in order to justify a rise in their budgets...