Now, the argument has always been that you need the best people in important jobs, and you do. Further, the number to people who are genuinely talented enough to build and run a complex organisation is quite limited, but it is not that limited. Saving a few tens of thousands of pounds on a salary in order to employ second-best will certainly end up costing you more, maybe much more. However, it is a bit of leap from this to the vast remuneration some Council Chief Executives earn. Then you get people like Richard Kemp, the vice-chairman of the Local Government Association. He was reported as saying:
Running councils is significantly more complicated than running a private company. They may find themselves dealing with cases like Baby P one minute and a £1 billion private investment the next. Most council executives are worth what they are paid.This is world-class drivel. The idea that a Council is inherently more complex than a private company is rubbish, and the examples given of activities are easily replicated in the Private Sector. Baby P was a particularly unfortunate example. Did he forget that the highly-paid Local Authority staff actually failed completely and the poor child died? An example of Council excellence? Only if you are in a parallel universe.
What we are dealing with is the hangover from huge explosion of public sector costs courtesy of the former Labour government. This needs to be unwound, and good job for the government for facing the issue.
I will say though, the attention paid to this matter seems to me to be at least because it is easily understood. The sums involved are high, but not compared to a typical Council budget. The real financial problems in Local Authority finance are much deeper than high-end salaries.