Why does our Mayor think he is entitled to £4,500 a year for doing nothing?

anderson

Sometimes I think after 32 years on the Council I think I have seen it all. Yet even I have been staggered and astounded by the results of an employment tribunal which was given yesterday which involves the Mayor. Chesterfield High School and Sefton Council.
Incredibly it appears that Sefton Council agreed to pay Joe Anderson for his paid holiday entitlement from May 2010 when he became Leader of the Council to a point in time when Chesterfield High School where he had hitherto worked.
The facts are made absolutely clear in the decision made by Judge Serota sitting in an employment tribunal which met last year but whose decision was only made public yesterday.
This is how the Liverpool Echo has today reported the findings of the Judge:
What the judge had to say
Dismissing the appeal, Judge Serota said: “[Mr Anderson] was entitled to receive almost £80,000 per annum from Liverpool for his role as elected mayor, yet also procured a payment (albeit modest) from public funds for which he provided, and was not expected to provide, any service.
“It was, more likely, considered to be a reverse form for a zero hours contract, whereby the [school] was bound to make payment of salary but [Mr Anderson] was not bound to provide any services.
“It is certainly fairly arguable that this arrangement may strike members of the public as constituting a misapplication of public monies.
“I asked Mr Morgan (Mr Anderson’s counsel) on several occasions what benefits there might be that accrued to the [school] for the payments and for preserving [Mr Anderson’s] post for an indeterminate period.
“The only answer that I received was that it gave ‘kudos’ to the school to be associated with the Mayor of Liverpool.”
Judge Serota questioned why city council lawyers were instructed to act in a personal capacity.
Mayor Anderson said the city solicitor had sent an initial letter, but that law firm Brabners had acted for him since.
The judge suggested that Mr Anderson had “not given sufficient attention” to how the arrangement “might look to outsiders”.
He said: ““What most people would consider the [school’s] desire to extricate itself from this arrangement, which could have been a public relations disaster for the school, would seem to me to be a clear example […] for ending the employment relationship with [Mr Anderson].
“I am satisfied that this is the conclusion to which the employment tribunal came and to which it was clearly entitled to come.”
There are three very worrying aspects to this case:
1. Why did the City’s legal department work for Mayor Anderson in a personal capacity?
2. Why does Mayor Anderson continue to say that he does not take as Mayor what he is entitled to although the payment of allowances table on the Council’s website shows that he earns almost to the penny the amount awarded by the Independent Review Body?
3. Why does he think that a school in a deprived part of Bootle should pay him (and did pay him) money for doing nothing?

Lastly, I have to ask, “Doesn’t Mayor Anderson think that £80,000 a year plus pension is enough?” I have never earned anything like that much.
And on a personal level last time I was up for election Labour put out an eve of poll leaflet in my ward with a headline figure of my salary and expenses from the Local Government Association. I have no doubt that they are going to do it again because they have already asked for details of my earnings and expenses to date. There was no explanation of the fact that this amount had accrued over 13 years and that for 7.5 of those years I was a senior spokesperson for the Association which involved frequent travelling and stays in London and other parts of the Country. Of course it looked like a lot of money until you divided it by 13 to get an annual sum for both salary and expenses which then looked incredibly reasonable. Of course because the leaflet was distributed on eve of poll there was no way I could not respond although my electorate did by re-electing me.

By and large I don’t criticise other people salaries or expenses. In this case however I have to say that the position taken by Mr Anderson is immoral and hypocritical. I suspect most people will if they see the whole story as revealed in today’s Echo.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. UK representative on UCLG Finance Committee, Executive Bureau and World Council. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperon on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and three grandchildren.
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4 Responses to Why does our Mayor think he is entitled to £4,500 a year for doing nothing?

  1. joedd says:

    Excellent writing from Cllr Kemp – Mayor Anderson once again conducting himself in a most despicable way. Using public money to fund a private prosecution shows he thinks himself untouchable……. what else is being funded out of public money that we don’t know about…… POWER VIA THE BALLOT BOX 7th May 2015 – 2016……

  2. Catherine says:

    The more you look at the actual judgement (http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2015/0206_14_1404.html) the more shocking this is.

    It sets out in detail that in summer 2010, after he became leader (and had stated clearly that he would be doing the job full-time), he tried to get Sefton to give him 50% paid leave instead of 20%, and expected them to pay full pension contributions. So he actually tried to get half his original salary for doing absolutely nothing.
    When they didn’t do this, he emailed the chief exec of Sefton council the following April (clearly the headteacher and board of governors were too lowly for him to deal with) stating that he “had been extremely disappointed with his situation and was “quite shocked” that Sefton’s pension contributions had been paid at his reduced salary rate” and that he had asked Liverpool City Council to go down the route of putting in a grievance or look at unfair dismissal on his behalf, which they were willing to do and which he was now willing to proceed down – although, of course, he didn’t do any such thing, probably because he couldn’t. He went on to ask that “given the unique circumstances” Sefton should consider a request for voluntary early retirement.
    Why on earth should they have paid full pension contributions? And why voluntary early retirement – he hadn’t retired, he’d just stopped working for the school.
    And all of this out of the supply teacher budget.
    He repeated this attempt to get higher pension contributions over a year later, in July 2012, when he got the Liverpool City Council solicitor to raise the issues again with Sefton (this was the bit that the judge criticised), no doubt repeating the threat of legal action.
    It was this letter that made the school decide to sort the whole ridiculous situation out.

    He “won” the dismissal case on a technicality (the procedure the school had followed wasn’t correct), but did not get any compensation because of his own behaviour and because it was 100% certain that the dismissal would have been fine if they’d got the procedure right, because the arrangement was unfair, since he wasn’t actually doing any work for the school.
    So in the words of the judgement, “the principal basis of appeal is against the decisions as to deductions” i.e., despite the Mayor’s protestations, this is indeed about the money – and really it was and is all about Joe’s pension.

    The other shocking aspect is the shameless bragging about his activities as leader and mayor, taking the credit for anything and everything. He claimed he was discriminated against because of his belief in public service, and to substantiate this belief came out with an incredible list of “achievements” (paragraph 6). This includes everything from supporting Michael Shields to opposing the proposal to build a stadium for Everton in Kirkby, from his participation in preparations for Capital of Culture and Liverpool Vision to the laying and adoption of roads around Sefton Park and the return of cruise ships to Liverpool, plus, of course, his work with Tesco to raise money for food banks and his support of the Oliver King foundation. This kind of inappropriate and cringe-inducing bragging makes you wonder about his judgement. Quite why he thought that this would impress an Employment Tribunal is beyond me.

    Finally, someone needs to find out how much work the City Solicitor did on this and who actually paid Brabners – because I suspect it was the Council. Unlike other LCC departments, the Chief Exec’s office (which is also the Mayor’s office) always redacts the names of the legal firms it pays for professional services in the payments over £500 information published by the Council. I wish you would challenge these redactions and find out.

    BTW, Chesterfield High isn’t actually in Bootle, it’s an average school in an average suburb – Thornton. But I’m sure they are just as strapped for cash as any other school.

  3. Pingback: Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #415

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