The race is on for the position of chief executive at the Regional Development quango Advantage West Midlands, and although the lucky winner will be paid with your money and have hundreds of millions of your tax pounds to spend, you will have absolutely no say on who gets the job.
Flying in the face of democracy, the decision will be made by the similarly unelected AWM board and then given the okay by Minister for the West Midlands, Liam Byrne MP. You can rest assured that your opinion will not be sought; you’re just expected to put up the readies.
According to the Birmingham Post the two front-runners are the current deputy Mick Laverty, and English Partnerships regional director for the North West and Midlands, Paul Spooner.
And who can blame them for filing their applications? Not only does the chief executive preside over a £300million-per-year budget, they also get rewarded with a hefty £160,000 annual salary. Not bad, especially when you consider the 20% performance related bonus could bump the successful candidate up to a substantial £192,000 per year.
The job was advertised as ‘not for the faint hearted’, but the chief executive needn’t worry as if the pressures of the job become a little too much they have a whole seven weeks holiday leave to relax in…
Any applicant with their eye on the ball will also have spotted the potential for this salary grow even larger, with the quango taking on extra powers with the demise of the Regional Assembly over the next two years or so. Extra responsibility is likely to mean extra cash for their “troubles”.
So as another tsar prepares to take their place at the head of what has been called a ‘regional dictatorship’ all we have to look forward to is having our money spent in increasingly irrelevant and bizarre ways. Purple ornamental tree anyone?