So Sir Roy McNulty is to fill the £80,510 per year position of chairman at Advantage West Midlands, despite actually pulling out of the original race in April 2008, according to the Birmingham Post.
Sir Roy’s withdrawal was apparently “amid speculation that he had been asked by the Government to concentrate on his role as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority following concern at the possibility of a growing row over airport charges”.
You see, the AWM role is not the only chairmanship/public position Sir Roy plans to hold down at the age of 72, no no, not even nearly.
As I wrote last year when Sir Roy was one of six contenders:
“Sir Roy McNulty may well have an impressive professional history with various private aerospace companies, but this has also led to significant involvement with public bodies, presumably leading to his pending application. He is already currently the chairman (£90,000pa, 3-day-week) of the Civil Aviation Authority, and has been since 2001; he has also been the Chairman of the former Department of Trade and Industry’s Aviation committee from 1995 until 1998; additionally he has recently taken up as Deputy Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority. Oh, and he’s also Chairman of Ilex, the ‘Urban Regeneration Committee’ in the Derry City Council area of Northern Ireland.
He’s a very busy man indeed! But is it even possible to juggle all of these positions? Surely at the very least the Civil Aviation Authority position would have to be dropped if he became AWM Chairman, as I doubt he’d manage a 6-day week split between Birmingham and London at the age of 70, particularly with the 2012 Olympics and regeneration in Northern Ireland to co-ordinate as well!
The case is either that this septuagenarian is working himself to the bone in the name of public service, working – at the very least – a six or seven day week and stretching himself between the Northern Ireland, London and the West Midlands (he lives in Warwick). Or that the time constraints are irrelevant, the position is purely a ‘cushy-number’ and the AWM Chairmanship simply represents £80k safely in the back pocket of anyone with the right credentials”.
Holding down these three positions isn’t just a logistical nightmare, it’s logistically impossible for one man in his 70s to perform fully, accurately and on time without cutting corners. But hey – there’s a lot of cash going spare for the person with the right CV, so from 1st September 2009 you’ll be paying for this man to take-up the chairmanship of a £300million budget public organisation, and whether he fails, flails or never turns up, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to remove him*.
Oh, and you’ll be paying his remuneration for those other positions he holds too.
Doesn't this sound a little bit like the Fire Authority situation all over again? If you've had a distinguished career and have either never rubbed the authorities up the wrong way, or alternatively you have something to offer them, your thank you present (courtesy of the British taxpayer) is a nice retirement gig at £80/£90k per year for a short week - AND it's completely recession-proof! Smashing!
Our MPs have, quite rightly, been in the firing line the last couple of weeks for abusing their expenses, but the truth is, we elected them and we can get rid of them when the time rolls round (and even more effectively with the power of recall), but there’s something a whole lot more sinister going on here, a world bobbing just below the surface, wielding a decent amount of power and being paid huge amounts of cash without accountability. Indeed, most of us don’t even know they’re there and we can be confident they're pretty happy with that situation. But surely if our MPs have to justify what they're getting from the taxpayer and what it’s for, these people who claim remuneration for two three-days-per-week jobs with other public responsibilities (and probably paycheques!) to boot should absolutely have to explain exactly how these arrangements work and what, precisely, they’re doing in return for these huge amounts of public money.
*Since this was written the WMTPA have been informed that Sir Roy will be stepping down from the Civil Aviation Authority, although he appears to be retaining his other positions.