Saturday, November 30, 2013

Some People Just Don't Get It. #FatSalaries #FatCats #FatTopUps

News this week of top-ups from charity fund-raising being used to top up senior manager's already fat salaries makes our collective Irish blood boil. To me it's not just that the likes of senior management in hospitals and healthcare facilities (like the CRC) are on already on inflated salaries funded by the State, or that their top-ups were taken from charity funds - it that after five years of economic recession and austerity there are still people who are creaming it in Ireland.

Image source: Grand Strategy.
According to The Irish Times (28th November, 2013), the Central Remedial Clinic paid one of its Chief Executive Officers an annual salary of €106,900. This is a pretty good salary - I wish I was on it! But this was topped up "with funds from the clinic totalling €136,000" to give a total pay package of "more than €240,000". Many other examples have been reported in the media - the people concerned should be ashamed of themselves.

Now, I don't begrudge anyone earning big money, but I don't believe in the "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" idea either. Similarly, I would not advocate a Cuban style same wages for everybody approach. But when the wages are being paid out of the public purse - this is different. If you feel you deserve a big salary, try the private sector. Health services are being cut everywhere, but wages are still inflated and now exposed as being topped up. This stinks. Some people get rich while others have to wait for basic services.

As for our politicians who are (rightly) up in arms over this, there is a whiff of the pot calling the kettle black. T├ínaiste Eamon Gilmore guffed at the Labour Party Conference that if "agencies don’t comply" with government guidelines on salaries that a way will be found to reduce "their funding correspondingly". Eamon Gilmore is on a salary of €184,405 plus plenty of expenses. It's not fair to single him out - there's many more like him in politics, plus of course the banks (which we own too).