Bonuses as Deferred Pay

This story is the best explanation we’ve got so far as to how the higher civil servant pay U-turn occurred and the justification used.

THE GOVERNMENT’S controversial U-turn on pay cuts for top public servants followed strong lobbying by their staff association that any cuts should take account of money lost as a result of the abolition of a bonus scheme which averaged 10 per cent of salary.

Official Department of Finance files show the Association of Assistant Secretaries and Higher Grades said it had legal opinion that the performance-related bonus scheme, which the Government initially suspended for 2008 and later scrapped permanently, formed an integral part of members’ remuneration packages.

The key argument put forward:

The association had earlier argued in correspondence with the Department of Finance that “while receipt of the performance-related element of pay is obviously not guaranteed to any individual, the scheme is part of our members’ basic remuneration package and amounts to an arrangement whereby part of that remuneration is simply deferred pending an independent assessment of performance”.

I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. The fact that the bonuses did not count as pensionable pay and were not eligible for PRSI suggests that they were not part of basic pay. If the legal opinion was an implicit threat that the civil servants could have sued to reverse their pay cuts, I find it pretty hard to imagine such a case being successful.

In any case, it’s still not clear why the U-turn occurred. Minister Lenihan announced the ending of bonuses in February, so he was well aware of what he was doing when he announced the pay cuts in the budget concluding with “These are permanent reductions which will be reflected in future pension entitlements.”

It would be interesting to have heard the speech that Brian Lenihan gave on this issue at the Fianna Fail parliamentary party on Tuesday night for which he reportedly received a round of applause from the faithful.

In relation to this, I appeared on the radio on Tuesday night just after this meeting (link here) and heard Fianna Fail TD Michael Mulcahy suggest that the U-turn came from following the recommendations of the Review Body report and that the U-turn occurred because the report wasn’t released until after the budget. In truth, the U-turn runs counter to the report’s recommendations and the Minister had access to the report before the budget (he mentioned it in his speech.) These didn’t seem to be very satisfactory talking points on this issue from someone who had just received a full explanation from the Minister.

If the government thinks that misleading spin is the way to make this issue go away, I suspect they’re wrong. The fact that the usually-supportive Stephen Collins has taken up the issue also suggests that the government isn’t winning people over on this one.

45 thoughts on “Bonuses as Deferred Pay”

  1. @ Karl,

    “If the legal opinion was an implicit threat that the civil servants could have sued to reverse their pay cuts, I find it pretty hard to imagine such a case being successful.”

    Perhaps we have to re-think the position of labour movements and trade unions in Ireland’s whole strategy? Certainly, it didn’t make much sense to me at all, until I listened to Mike Davis, the US socialist, speaking to Bill Moyers.

    I am attempting to blog something about it here:

    http://designcomment.blogspot.com/2010/02/plan-for-capitalism.html

    I talked about my ideas of ‘The Embryonic Economy’ in another blog entry. All to do with employing young people somehow, thinking about incubation, and organisation of our considerable labour resources.

    For what it is worth.

    BOH.

  2. “In any case, it’s still not clear why the U-turn occurred”
    Karl – it is, to be blunt, bleedin obvious. As Francis Urquart said “I do it because I can”. Elites rarely turn on each other.
    “If the government thinks that misleading spin is the way to make this issue go away, I suspect they’re wrong.”
    Worked a treat with NAMA…..

  3. @Brian Lucey
    If people jump up and down enough they can get the government to concede a bit, but only as much as suits them eg., the totally inadequate, with grinded teeth given bank inquiry (it’s actually worse than no inquiry). If everyone protests about this loudly enough the government will make concessions. I fully expected the minister to do so at the party meeting. At the minimum a small additional cut and a promise that the pay of these higher civil servants would be frozen until the difference was made up. However, Minister Lenihan gave a stout defence of these cuts, followed by the usual briefing by his press people that stubborn Cowen was completely to blame.

    As an opponent it’s getting very wearying continually trying to make a government which doesn’t know right from wrong do the right thing. As on the cuts to the blind and the disabled, judges pay, tax breaks, quangos, pork barrel spending and the bank inquiry the government just don’t get it.
    Then there’s the rich people first into the life boats that is NAMA…

    If we don’t see the back of this government, and soon, there is a growing risk we will get the Spike Lee ending.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_the_right_thing

  4. Self-serving legal opinions are a recent invention.
    The recent acceptance of one by Bill Shipsey SC, who should have known better, of this defence in reviewing the DCC-Fyffes fiasco does nothing to add to their validity.

  5. This is a blatant attempt to protect the pension entitlements of the elite.

    All of the pensions at the higher level are gold plated and even the unions refused to consider cutting the pensions of the retired civil and public servants.

    It is a club you never lose membership of. In fact I am willing to bet that the review body is made up of retired and currently serving civil servants.

    Does anybody know who is on this review body?

    The pensions of these retirees are costing the state a bloody fortune but these people are deemed untouchable. Our civil service has the same status as a Royal court.

  6. @ Karl

    Yes, you mentioned that in your initial piece but you also said that despite mentioning them in the budget as having recommended the cuts the minister seems to have told his parliamentary party members that the report was not in his possesion until after the reversal.

    Either he is lying deliberately or Mulcahy was lying on the radio the other night.

    The full text of his budget speech is freely available so it would be easy to cause an awkward situation between himself and Mulcahy. One of them would have to admit to lying and then the question could be asked as to why?

  7. @ MB

    Lying’s a strong word. Let’s just say that Mr. Mulcahy did not appear to be in full possession of the facts which, given that he had just arrived in from a meeting to discuss this issue, was disappointing.

  8. I’m interested in what they had to do to earn their bonuses in prior years. The idea of bonuses is to achieve something over and above the norm – savings, productivity, extra revenue. The criteria should be written down so everyone knows exactly where they stand. You either earned it or you didn’t.

    At the risk of annoying Ernie again it’s just another example of the gap between the public and private sector. In the private sector the bonuses are gone and the pay is being cut. (Apart mind you from AIB staff who threatened to sue if they didn’t get their bonuses – they can’t have been very well formulated either!)

    At this stage can’t imagine anyone believes a single word coming out of the governments mouths. A bit of honesty and integrity would be quite a shock.

  9. @ Stuart

    There are 2 chances of this Govt. ever coming close to the truth, slim and none.

    See Karls post above. In fact it would not surprise me to discover that Bertie was doing a nixer as a financial consultant to the Greeks.

  10. Why would anyone give Civil Servants a bonus in the first place? These people do not perform to any recognised standard. So the only reason for the so called bonuses was to get round pay differentials difficulties in the CS. That joker Mc Creevey and his successor Cowen dreamt up these schemes. The basic salaries should have been cut for these people the same as everyone else in the CS/PS in the Budget. As regards legal opinion it is not worth the paper it is not written on. All Private Sector Employers have to manage their Employees and do not operate under vague threats. It is time that the Government managed the CS/PS as in the real World and just fire those that do not want to accept being managed.

  11. @Maurice O’Leary
    The Shipsey report’s lauding of corporate governance in DCC and Ireland was genuinely astounding. Shipsey went so far over the top it was almost like he was playing it for laughs. But he wasn’t. Our establishment, like our government, really don’t have any self-awareness.

    While we look on appalled, our establishment just dismiss all our criticisms. “Begrudgery. Talkingdownery. Political attacks”. They really don’t get it. In their own minds they are the best ruling class a country could have, and we should all be down on our knees in gratitude for them. What is more, they have a Downfall like belief that the country’s woes are due to the people having somehow failed THEM. The rest of the world – when it is interested – concludes that our state is entirely corrupt. “It’s The Wild West”, they say. Either that or that Ireland is a deeply strange place with it’s own weird customs.

    Only in Ireland could our establishment have the standards of governance that they do, but be totally unselfconscious about them. Only in Ireland could the ruling class get away with telling the public that we need to face up to reality, while relentlessly concealing the truth about their own part in the collapse of the economy and the banking system.

    Only in Ireland could we move, without any intervening stage of investigations and resignations, from being told everything is fine (“the fundamentals are sound”), to being told, “we all know what went [catastrophically] wrong” and it is time to move on, “we are where we are”.

    This country has gone drastically wrong many times in its independent existence and it will keep on going drastically wrong until massive changes are made. But the present government and I fear most of the opposition are more afraid of changing a broken system than of inevitable repeated failure. The insiders will not hand over power without a bitter fight.

  12. Stuart
    “I’m interested in what they had to do to earn their bonuses in prior years. ”
    Apparently breathing was the key, as all (bar one?) got the bonus.

  13. One of the other consequences of the reduction in pay cuts for senior civil servants is that Govt have angered the rest of the public sector unions to the point that Govt scuppered:

    1 acceptance of the wage cuts throughout the grades.

    2 No resistance, passive agressive behaviour, etc, etc.

    3 probably already lost any potential for the public sector effeciencies, that were almost implemented after negoiations with Govt, to be implemented next year.

    History will judge that to have been a foolish move, indeed!
    It took any claims to fairness out of the whole thing,
    And anyone under 30-35K shouldnt have been touched at all.

    Al

  14. @Al
    The anger this is causing public sector workers and the weapon it gives them is the reason why even many who are supportive of the government call on them to concede. But, by supporting a government which doesn’t know right from wrong any interventions they make, however sincere, are tainted. We know that if the government back down it will not be from conviction but entirely from political calculation. Now we wonder if the supportive who urge the government to change course are, likewise, motivated purely by expediency.

    The government’s “supportivers”, for few would now admit to supporting the government parties themselves, need to ask themselves if a government that has caused an economic and banking collapse, covered them up, and is fighting tooth and nail to keep them covered up, is worth it. A government that is worn out, utterly bereft of ideas or the capacity to inspire.

    Perhaps it’s because we’re a catholic country but supportivers give the government a limitless supply of indulgences. On the cuts to the blind and others, judges pay, tax breaks, quangos, pork barrel spending, the bank inquiry, minister’s salaries, NAMA…no matter what the government do the supportivers indulge them.

    Because of the indulgences of the supportivers being this government means never having to say you’re sorry. Or to take responsibility, or to even know when you’re wrong.

    Surely it’s long past time the supportivers joined with the overwhelming majority of the population and called on the government to leave office.

  15. @ Tony

    We live in a democratic republic.
    This is our government.
    We choose to and do ignore it at our peril!

    I think that the next generation of politicians may have a sharper sense of what constitutes that national interest, than the current ones.
    I wonder about the electorate though!!
    Night

    Al

  16. The very people who drafted the finance act for the rest of us exempted themselves from its effects. Logical what?

    Nice power if you can get your hands on it though. What was it that Lenihan had to say about our patriotic duty? Then on ‘mature recollection’ he goes and exempts the 642 special patriots who are very important people. So important in fact, that they could not be allowed to become even more patriotic than they already had become.

    Just remember, we are all this together and that by 1916 we will be able to hold our heads high.

  17. It’s a total mess. A proper performance related pay system would make available an _average_ of 10% pay as bonus, with some getting 0% and others say 20%. However the civil servant performance related pay system just became a salary top up. And you’ll recall the pay premium over private sector was least at the senior level – see ESRI- http://www.esri.ie/publications/latest_publications/view/index.xml?id=2691.

    Either performance related pay is a good idea or not and if a good idea it should continue throughout a recession. However politically defending “bonuses” was going to be tough.

    They should simply have admitted they got the performance related pay system wrong… and that “whoopsie” it had turned into a salary top up.

  18. “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
    — Lawyer Joseph Welch to Irish-American Senator Joseph McCarthy, US Congress, 1954.

    Sham bonuses on top of sham benchmarking for 600 people who are guaranteed a high public income for life.

    Like the plutocrats on Wall Street, have they “no sense of decency?”

    I don’t believe any member of the senior public service, current or retired, has accepted any responsibility for the economic crash, even though they were part of the policymaking group during the years of reckless mismanagement.

    To feather their own nests and ensure that they will continue to do so on retirement when tens of thousands of the victims of the crash, live bleak lives and many will continue to do so, is crass, mean and disgraceful.

  19. @ M Hennigan

    Amen!

    I read the govt’s not touching the ps pension as still remaining in the ‘To Do’ box!
    They have dealt with alot of interest groups already. They may in the future have been proved wise to take their time on this, if they indeed take on the challenge.

    And no offense to any one individual, but they were also the ones around for the:
    Abuse of children
    Infected blood
    Beef exports
    Planning payments
    Etc, etc

    And the general toleration of political gobshitery, where the national interest was abandoned for sectional interests such as church, ruling class, local business mafia’s etc.

    They served one half of the country and ignored the rest.
    A look at the emigration figures thru their tenure is a measure of their success.
    Lets not pretend we owe them our souls, or even decency, sir!

    Al

  20. The legal opinion is clearly correct. It is a pretty basic point.

    However, the legal opinion is irrelevant to the decision on whether to cut their pay or not. In the absence of union agreement, that decision was a unilateral decision taken by the Government on the basis of economic considerations.

    Unless the senior civil servants union entered into a separate enforceable agreement on paycuts then whether the bonuses form part of their pay is irrelevant.

    The concepts of “core” pay and “basic” pay are irrelevant and meaningless as far as I can see.

  21. The senior public servants are looking more and more like the big bankers with their bonuses, the same bankers they have worked so hard to protect from the consequence of their actions for the last few years.

  22. @ Zhou_Enlai,

    thanks for your input.

    I watched the BBC tv series ‘Spooks’ the other day. A lady accused Karl Marx of trying to bring about the downfall of capitalism. A man replied to her, Marx understood that capitalism would self-destruct itself.

    I cannot help but appreciate, our predicament in Ireland is sort of contained, in that exchange. Which leads me to understand what Mike Davis was saying to Bill Moyers. Some kind of real labour movement needs to be fully engaged and included. It is probably the only way that capitalism can be saved from itself now.

    This is a pretty basic disagreement about labour issues. But unless someone stands forth to offer to do something, to arrive at a settlement, we will just go on and on. BOH.

  23. @BOH

    On the point of a labour movement to save us, a hit and run comment to set your head spinning…

    From Jacques Ellul’s The Technological Society [1964]

    The technique of so-called human relations, developed to adapt the individual to the technical milieu, to force him to accept his slavery, to make him find happiness by the “normalization” of his relations with his group and integrate him into that group to an even greater degree – this techinique is characteristic of the fakeries and shams with which men must be provided if the conflicts provoked by life in a technicized environment are to be avoided. As a remedy it does not amount to much, but as a symptom of technical reinforcement, it is important. We can say that these personal relation are also techniques, that they are not a counterweight to other techniques, but that they bring about the application of technique in the most personal and immediate areas of human activities: man’s relations with other men. They alleviate the rigours of the human condition – but only by forcing man to submit to them more completely. They facilitate both human life and the action of the machinery, improve production while subordinating human spontanaeity to the mathematical calculations of the technicians. In short, they are a kind of lubricating oil, but scarcely a means by which men can recover a sense of worth, personality, and authenticity. On the contrary, they are a delusion which dessicate the individual’s desire for anything better. Man is doubtless made more comfortable by techniques of human relations; but these techniques are wholly oriented toward compelling man to submit to forced labour. Machine and productivity are in the driver’s seat.

    All I have said concerning the technique of human relations is as true of a socialist as of a capitalist society. “Socialist rivalry” is only a psychological tool to force men to work harder. The effort to integrate men into large scale enterprises is not restricted to capitalism; it stems from technical investigations which are unviverally valid. The most that can be said is that under capitalism psychological techniques tend to be concentrated on the problem of integrating the individual into private enterprise. Under socialism they are more generalised.
    ….

    Labour and trade unions made their appearance as the great human protest against the inhuman character of capitalism and its exploitation of the workers. However, in all countries labour unionism has completely lost its original character and become a purely technical organisation. This seems to be undeniable, whether we study unionism in its Soviet form as a state organism or in its American form as an adjunct to production. In both cases trade unionism no longer represents a fighting force, but rather a technical administration.
    ….

    The worker through his unions is intensifying his own thralldom to techniques, augmenting their powers of organisation, and completing his own integration into that very movement from which, it may be, unionism had originally hoped to free him.

  24. @ BO’H and others (but mainly BO’H)

    I’ve always had a hands-off policy on the comments. But the comment threads are getting out of hand these days. Far too much long rambling off-subject waffle. I’ll be deleting this kind of stuff far more often in future.

    Links to long rambling off-subject posts on off-site blogs are fine as long as the threads don’t turn into a whole sequence of them.

  25. @ Karl Whelan,

    “Links to long rambling off-subject posts on off-site blogs are fine as long as the threads don’t turn into a whole sequence of them.”

    I understand that Karl, you aught to and should at all times, take whatever measures you deem necessary to preserve as much value as possible, in terms of moderating a debate, while including as wide and diversified a range of writing/contribution styles as you deem necessary to accomodate. There is something, in the coverage of the mortgage issue in particular, this past week, which has prevented me from engaging in conversation at the Irish Economy blog, to a standard which I would aspire to even myself. I have been disappointed myself by that, I just didn’t know how deeply I would feel about a subject, as banal as mortgages.

    Keep up the excellent work you are doing, and it is very much appreciated amongst the community here in Ireland. My interest lies basically in the field of evolving workable solutions – in finding a way to get the airplane off the ground, so to speak. I have criticised your views, and even those of the Irish labour party, at my own blog site, in recent times. I feel that economists are good at getting an overall picture as events play out. I am doubtful as to their experience in implementation. I guess, that is as good a ground as any, to differ upon. BOH.

  26. The problem with performance related pay is that 99% of the employees think they are in the top 10% of the performers. Clearly in the case of these 600+ eminent public servants, they are!

  27. oddly the biggest discount in the civil service occurs at the higher grades, where the people doing the job would probably earn more in the private sector, that was the findings of a report presented to SSISI last November.

    the real premium is all at the lower levels, perhaps the turn around was in acknowledgement of this

  28. @Tony Demello

    “While we look on appalled, our establishment just dismiss all our
    criticisms. “Begrudgery. Talkingdownery. Political attacks”. They
    really don’t get it. In their own minds they are the best ruling class
    a country could have, and we should all be down on our knees in
    gratitude for them. What is more, they have a Downfall like belief
    that the country’s woes are due to the people having somehow failed
    THEM.”

    Bertold Brecht, a life-long socialist, you know……like Bertie Ahern, captured the nature of the Fianna Fail/Greena Fail coalition in his poem “The Solution”. The poem was written about the brutal suppression of the 1953 workers uprising in East Germany:-

    THE SOLUTION

    After the uprising of the 17th June
    The Secretary of the Writers Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

    The conundrum for us is how do we get a better standard of government without a better standard of electorate?. This is the second time in my working life that the Fianna Fail joy-riders have smashed the Irish economy into a wall. I have perfect faith in their ability to repeat the trick in 20-year cycles.

  29. If I was to think about this, from an implementation point of view, (put on my project manager’s hat) instead of from an economist point of view – the way I think about this, is based on civil servants I do know and their regard for the elected politicians in the Oireachtas. The attitude is, give the politicians a toy to go off and play with. That soaks up a week or two, banter-ing in the house of the Oireachtas. We all know how long the holidays of parliment are in Ireland. So it is by a succession of these tactics, that civil service departments ‘get through the year’, and avoid too much hassle with their bosses – the Irish State, in the form of elected ministers. Can we alter the dynamic To help achieve our end goal?

    Even this debate over bonuses is worth it for the dept. of Finance, as it ties up Oireachtas and newspaper media hours. The enemy facing Ireland isn’t money, it is time. If we allow the dept. of Finance, to dictate to us, terms of how time (the most valuable resource is used) is used, then we are in trouble. How does one circumvent that, and still achieve social justice? C’mon, you guys are economics, you guys are supposed to understand scarcity of resources and all of that.

    If I was a deal maker, looking at things from an implementation point of view. I would not bother to dwell on why the airplane (the economy) is still on the run way, unable to fly. I would say, keep the bonus, but I want 10 no. innovative proposals on my desk by next week, to fix all of the problems wrong with that airplane (the economy). Or else you are all shipped off to the department of poles and telegraphs, and I’ll bring in people who know what they are doing. I would say that, because most of those claiming this bonus, work for the department of Finance.

    I don’t know if that helps any, but I think Karl Whelan, it is about rapid, quick fire implementation of treatments for the problem. That debate should happen and needs to happen, apart from all of the economic analysis is done. I think, the above best explains the subtle distinction between your approach and mine. BOH.

  30. @Karl Deeter
    Are you sure? Isn’t the whole point about being a higher civil servant that you trade money for security, power, status and I would guess a better work life balance? This is the bargain you make when you join as a high flyer. Also, comparable opportunities for them in Ireland right now are miniscule.

    The entire Irish establishment – public and private – have an immense sense of entitlement. During the boom we thought our civil service was better than other countries because we thought Ireland was better than other countries. Now we know that we were completely wrong on both counts. In my judgement these cuts are appropriate, deserved, fair and will not impact civil servant retention. If the government are genuinely worried about morale – including in the public sector – I suggest they do what the vast majority of the public want and leave office.

  31. And there is this unfounded assumption that the private sector knows best how to balance wages of the top and bottom earners.

  32. You can call me a conspiracy theorist, but I have to wonder what Fianna Fail have to gain by backing down on the pay cuts for senior civil servants. We’re used to them pulling the most outrageous stunts to
    protect/favour FF insiders and the commercial interests who own the FF party, but expending much needed political capital to help out a relatively small bunch of civil and public servants? It doesn’t make sense.

    Lets look at the gains so far from this move:

    1. The report of The Review Body On Higher Remuneration In The
    Public Sector states at point 4.25:
    “The Review Body remains in favour of moderate, performance-related award schemes, where bonus payments reflect the achievement of challenging targets, as motivators of excellence. However, we consider that, in the light of the very serious economic and fiscal environment, the developments in relation to such schemes in the private sector and our recommendations that reductions in remuneration are warranted, the
    continuation of performance-related awards cannot be justified in the
    current climate.”

    At 4.27 it states “As already stated, the salary cost of all the posts within our ambit represents a very small fraction of the total public service paybill. The Review Body is aware that the adjustments recommended in this Report will not, in themselves, have an appreciable effect in terms of reducing the public service paybill, but they will have a demonstration effect.”

    OK. Thats the “demonstration effect” thrown in the bin.

    2. Outrage on the part of the lower paid civil and public servants who are taking a larger dose of medicine in this round of cuts than their overpaid bosses. What are the chances of success now when it comes to the next round of pay cuts?

    3. Another stick handed to the press with which to beat the government. As though the press were running short in that department.

    4. A ‘Peasants Revolt’ by FF back-benchers. It remains to be seen in the vote on the issue this week whether or not Mattie McGrath’s courage matches the size of his mouth.

    This pay cut was reversed by a few individuals in the Dept. of Finance. The other 600 odd are just along for the ride. So why did Lenihan give in?

    In the closing minutes of the film “Clear and Present Danger”, Jack Ryan (CIA), (played by Harrison Ford) declares to President Bennett (played by Donald Moffat) in the Oval Office that it is his duty to report the illegal actions of the President to the Senate Oversight Committee.
    The President says :”You’re not going to do that.”
    Jack … “I’m not?”
    President Bennett … “No, no. You’ve got yourself a chip in the big game now. You’re gonna tuck that away, you are going to save that for a time when your own ass is on the line and then you’re gonna pull it out. And I’m going to cash it in for you. Right?”

    This is the happy situation in which our senior Dept. of Finance officials find themselves. They have the inside track on the actions taken by Brian Cowen and St. Brian of Castleknock at the time of the bank guarantee in September 2008. Events which, not coincidentally, have been ruled off limits to the Banking Inquiry. How useful a ‘chip in the big game’ would it be, if you had first-hand knowledge, for instance, that Brian and Brian had agreed, at the insistence of the Dept. of Finance and the Central Bank, not to include Anglo in the bank guarantee…….and then done the exact opposite?

    Our happy officials, offended by the unedifying sight of Government Ministers double-counting their own paycuts, decided that they would like a slice of that action too. And they had just the leverage to get what they wanted.

    All this is entirely hypothetical of course. But it makes for a more believable explanation than any of the guff we’ve been offered so far.

  33. @tony demello

    part of the point about being ANY civil servant is that of security, guaranteed pension etc., the concept of ‘power’ is probably not quantifiable, and certainly it exists in both the private and public sectors: one would therefore imagine that the very quantifiable difference is in pay, and yet our high end civil servants earn far less than their private sector counterparts.

    The CSO did a fascinating paper on it and it demonstrated (as have many) that the true benefit of civil employment is in the lower paid because it is there where the gap is largest versus a similar position in the private sector.

    As for the government leaving or staying in office, that’s what elections are for, one will come eventually!

  34. @Karl Deeter
    “oddly the biggest discount in the civil service occurs at the higher grades, where the people doing the job would probably earn more in the private sector, that was the findings of a report presented to SSISI last November.

    the real premium is all at the lower levels, perhaps the turn around was in acknowledgement of this.”

    Oh so in reality the 600 are carrying out the last true vocations in Irish society.

    The government have reintroduced benchmarking for the top 600 Civil servants because they feel there is a moral obligation to ensure they keep up with the private sector? I doubt it.

    The fact that the top brass in private companies and the executives of these companies scratch each others bellies leading to greater societal inequality is something that the government feels it has a moral obligation to copy?

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/CompanyFocus/IsACEOWorth364TimesAnAverageJoe.aspx.
    According to this article CEO’s are getting 365 times the wage of an average joe in the US. In the 50’s it was around 33 times.

    The morality of trying to encourage private sector levels of inequality in the public sector less than two years after the largest economic disaster since the great depression was averted using a bailout by future generations of citizens is to put it mildly, questionable.

  35. didnt know where else to put this! No reasons given yet…

    *IRELAND’S GEORGE LEE RESIGNS FROM FINE GAEL PARTY

  36. @ Garo

    very quick though. Its strange to say, given his position, but it seems like he was somewhat naive to how the political game really works in this country. Think he thought he could change the world in double quick time.

  37. @ Eoin

    Given that George is not tied to a particular portfolio, he has the opportunity to promote necessary radicalism: political reform; public service reform; ending the insiders’ self-serving system of Victorian secrecy and introducing accountability.

    He would have won the seat as an independent — maybe he should have negotiated from a position of strength before the election.

    I’m sure Enda has promised him some bauble if he minds his P’s and Q’s!

  38. @Eoin: I think it just shows how difficult it is to change political culture in this country. It is not your talent or ability that counts but who your father was and then how “senior” you are. You gotta wait for Buggins turn.

    That said, it was perhaps naive of him to expect a lot of influence especially with Richard Bruton in there. Still, from his comments it seems that he was promised some say before the election and he feels that those promises were not kept. It is only 9 months and he can probably forget this period as a bad dream and get on with life.

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