18th October 2018
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SIC’s highest earners revealed

The council’s monthly wage bill has fallen by nearly £1.5 million over the last three years – but the number of staff earning over £50,000 a year has dropped by only one from 111 to 110 in the same period.

The latest figures in the SIC’s final audited accounts for 2013/14 show that monthly wages dropped from a high of almost £7.5 million in May 2011 to £6m in January this year. Annual payment run spending has decreased by over £10m per year from £80m in 2011/12 to £70m in 2013/14.

“Exit packages” – money paid to council officials when they leave the SIC – rose from £1.047m in 2012/13 to £3.019m in 2013/14.

SIC chief executive Mark Boden.

SIC chief executive Mark Boden.

Elected councillors themselves saw an increase in combined remuneration from £468,000 in 2012/13 to £488,000 in 2013/14. This was composed of an increase in salaries from £352,000 to £358,000, and increase in allowances from £33,000 to £36,000 and an increase in expenses from £83,000 to £94,000.

Topping the list of council high earners was chief executive Mark Boden, who has taken a notably lower profile approach to the role than some previous incumbents. His  salary was £101,069 in the last financial year. He was followed by the directors of children’s services, development and corporate services, respectively Helen Budge, Neil Grant and Christine Ferguson on £80,849 each.

Infrastructure director Phil Crossland was paid £41,370 for part of a year while his successor Maggie Sandison earned £39,817.

Director of community care services Sally Shaw received £33,211, before her post was deleted, while executive manager of governance and law Jan Riise was paid £72,648, executive manager of finance James Gray got £70,401 and executive manager of children’s and families Hughina Leslie was paid £64,844.

Exit packages for 2013/14 included £330,000 spent in the £100,000 to £149,999 band; £264,000 in the £80,000 to £99,999 band; £356,000 in the £60,000 to £79,999 band; £902,000 in the £40,000 to £59,000 band and £554,000 in the £20,000 to £39,999 band.

Among senior councillors, leader Gary Robinson topped the table with a salary of £27,388; Shetland College board chairman Drew Ratter came in second with £20,859 in salary and expenses; convener Malcolm Bell received £20,317; planning chairman Frank Robertson received £18,302; Cecil Smith, Alastair Cooper, Allan Wishart and Vaila Wishart were paid £18,825 and Andrea Manson, George Smith and Allison Duncan received £17,852 each.

• More detail on the salaries paid to council officials in this week’s Shetand Times.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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14 comments

  1. Sandy McMillan

    Are they in the position they hold for the love of the job, or is it just for the money, who deserves £100.000+perks, £72.000+perks, and so on it goes, what can you say, other than it’s a hell of a lot money.
    I personally don’t think they deserve these high wages, especially when Shetland is at the moment just keeping it’s head above the water, These who are earning this huge wages should take a step back and maybe think for a moment or two, what the pensioners are getting, £130.00 Per week.
    And they have the cheek to change the Christmas Bonus, to means testing those that should still be getting. A little extra at Christmas.
    After all it is all the SIC and the Charitable trust have given to the poor, out of the millions they have squandered over the years.
    The whole of the SIC, and there treatment has become a Night mare from the Top office down to the basement

    Reply
  2. Robert Duncan

    Screenshot of poll taken at time I voted:

    http://i.imgur.com/VZ6YxbN.jpg

    Gosh, Mr Boden, you don’t say?

    Reply
  3. Ali Inkster

    An awful lot of folk think it is not good value for money well the only way to change it is to change the council. Let them know what you really think of their incompetence, sign the petitionhttps://www.change.org/p/shetland-islands-council-resign

    Reply
  4. Michael Garriock

    How many of the 514 “Yes” votes (total at time of writing) are themselves “senior officials” and their inner circles of minions?

    Cue the cliched Ms. Rice-Davies Profumo Affair quote.

    Reply
  5. Steven Jarmson

    No one working in a job paid for by the tax payer should be earning over £50,000.
    I don’t care what job they do.
    Lower the top earners wages, or even better, get rid of them altogether, and pay the people who actually do the work better.
    How many schools could be kept open or even improved with the money wasted on “top” managers?
    I don’t mind what the councillors are getting, most of them are doing the job “full time.”
    But they really need to look at what jobs are actually needed within the council work force.

    Reply
  6. Rachel Buchan

    How can anyone justify their wages being over £101k? Even £50,000 is an awful lot of money, but I can at least visualise someone putting in enough effort to earn that. Why do the people who pay the wages consider that Mark Boden is worth so much??

    Reply
  7. Ali Inkster

    Oh dear the voting seems to have been skewed by a sudden rush of anonymous voters, funny how folk don’t want to put their name to their yes vote.

    Reply
  8. John Tulloch

    We are discussing very demanding, high profile jobs here and £100k-odd isn’t unreasonable for sitting at the top of a 2000+-strong organisation.

    The question is, “are the people employed delivering the goods?”

    In some cases, like Finance, most definitely.

    In other cases, such as the rural school closures debacle, in which grossly misleading figures were used to justify a grotesque programme of closures – which has yet to be withdrawn! – or the ambition-free “Our Islands, Our Future” campaign, then those officials and politicians drawing large salaries for presiding over disastrous, embarrassing, initiatives are wide open to criticism.

    Audit Scotland, reportedly, gave the SIC a clean bill of health with its finances and that’s good, congratulations to those who did the good work.

    Did Audit Scotland not look into how such a monumental blunder as exaggerating Shetland’s relative cost per pupil by 40 percent and then using that figure to justify wreaking havoc on Shetland’s rural communities, could have been made?

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      Surely those self-same cost per pupil figures come from the Finance department itself?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        That’s a fair point, Robert, we don’t know who structured the figures and why they were produced in that way. That’s why I’ve repeatedly called for an independent, open inquiry.

        However, we do know who used those figures, unquestioningly,
        to justify closing rural schools on a false financial case.

        And the same people are, brazenly, pressing ahead with their plan to centralise secondary education in Lerwick, undeterred by the egg splattered over their faces, following exposure of the financial facts – by the Finance Dept, once a query was finally put to them.

      • Johan Adamson

        I think they have management accountants in the education dept too. At one point finance was meant to be in each dept, but they kept large central finance dept too, I think

  9. Suzy Jolly

    Looks like the turkeys have voted then 😉

    The vote was between 85% and 90% to the No camp until after the time when SIC staff would have clocked off and then it suddenly starting swinging the other way. No surprises there then.

    Quite amazing when you look at the sums paid to council senior officers throughout the UK; many positions are paying more than what an investment banker starting out would receive or indeed what one would earn in the first few years, plus investment bankers tend to work 15 hour days. Do council senior officers work 15 hour days? Why should they earn more than an MP or, for that matter, the PM? Can’t help but wonder what the expenses are for council senior officers too.

    Good value? Absolutely not.

    Reply
  10. Jim Anderson

    Congratulations John, you’ve managed to take sarcasm to a whole new level!

    Reply
  11. John Tulloch

    Unless you want to end up with all councillors and council employees becoming completely demoralised, criticism needs to be specific and directed at the appropriate quarter, as opposed to a food fight against opposition whose hands are tied behind their backs.

    That gives the competent ones ammunition to force changes.

    Anger should be channeled towards the areas of SIC operation which deserve it, IMO, namely, rural school closures, Our Islands, Our Future and the ending of democratic control at Shetland Charitable Trust/VIking Energy.

    Reply

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