Welcome clearing of the council decks?

Brian Feeney’s column this week is in direct contrast with much of the public reaction to Peter Hain’s announcement on – the RPA proposals announced on Tuesday. He thinks Hain has done Northern Ireland a huge favour in cutting the number of councillors on the public books.In particular he notes:

Councillors make up 40% of education and library board membership and a hefty percentage of all the other quango membership that wastes hundreds of millions of pounds. How do they get there? Answer: they elect themselves or the party nominates them.

Some of them sit on so many boards, committees and advisory bodies that they can’t attend them all so they make a bee-line for the ones with attendance allowances and travelling expenses.

There are dozens of councillors who have made a reasonable living for years out of arriving late for meetings and leaving early so they can rush off to the next paying meeting and pick up another attendance allowance.

And its worse where there is little competition with other parties:

Unionists are the worst at this scam especially in councils which they control and exclude nationalists from all outside bodies, though there are a fair number of nationalists at it too where they are cock of the walk.

He’s not sanguine about the savings that headlined the PR effort of the NIO on Tuesday:

The £200 million plus saving that the NIO predicts will only happen if there’s massive redundancies at the top of each board, trust and council. It’s a safe bet that won’t happen. Just watch the same number of senior people who built quintuplicated empires in five education boards and 26councils miraculously surviving to cluster together claiming they need monster salaries to administer one huge education board and seven large councils.

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