by Mark Irvine
As regular readers know – COSLA is a members’ club for Scotland’s 32 local councils – see post dated 18 March 2011.
Yet COSLA is not covered by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 – despite being funded almost completely by public money raised via its member councils.
The work of COSLA is overseen by a team of ‘senior’ councillors – a President and four Vice-Presidents who are also councillors in their own local council areas.
At the moment the line-up is:
Councillor Pat Watters – South Lanarkshire Council (Labour)
Neil Fletcher – Aberdeen City Council (Liberal Democrat)
Alex MacDonald – Western Isles Island Council (Independent)
Corrie McChord – Stilring Council (Labour)
Rob Murray – Angus Council (SNP)
Now the COSLA President and Vice Presidents all get time-off from their normal council duties to deal with COSLA business – as you would expect.
A bit like a local trade union rep getting time off from their employer – to deal with union business.
But the President and Vice Pressidents all receive significant sums of public money – for carrying out their COSLA functions – in addition to their local council duties.
“So how much do they get paid?” I hear you ask.
Well that’s a secret, apparently – as is the method by which their pay is determined – since COSLA is not covered by Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
The last time I heard the COSLA President received £20,000 a year and the Vice Presidents £10,000 a year.
Even more bizarre is the fact that the four Vice Presidents all declare their COSLA remuneration – in their individual ‘register of interests’.
Now the four Vice Presidents don’t say how much they receive from COSLA – which is a bit odd – because what’s the big secret – it’s public money after all?
But at least they register the existence of a payment – as all councillors are required to do by law.
Yet Scotland’s most senior councillor – COSLA President, Pat Watters – fails to include this information in his own ‘register of interests’ at South Lanarkshire Council.
Having checked the council web site this morning – the only remuneration entry for Councillor Pat Watters is:
“07/09/2010 Category 1 Remuneration Director of Cannedheat, 16 Aitken Road, Hamilton (Investigation Company)”
Now why would that be?
This article first appeared in Mark Irvine’s Action 4 Equality Scotland blog and is reproduced here by kind permission of the author.