Thursday, 13 May 2010

Nice Work, If You Can Get It

As one of the foremost political commentators of my generation, I like to think nothing much has got past me over my forty years plus in the business.

But I must admit to being more than a little shocked to discover that election Returning Officers are paid handsomely for their troubles.

I suppose I imagined it was an honourary position - something done by a local authority official as an adjunct to their day job. As such, (to the extent I even gave it a thought) I might have expected they'd get a bit of overtime for having to endure the boredom of an election count. Perhaps, if they had the misfortune to be announcing the reults of a by-election where the TV cameras were in evidence, even an allowance for a new suit and a haircut, so they could look their best.

According to Wikipedia, the task of running the election often falls on the shoulders of a council Chief Executive or Mayor.

And, apparently, it's quite a lucrative affair. After the debacle of voters queuing outside polling booths in Sheffield, the council Chief Executive has decided to forgo the £20,000 he was due to.

A little rooting around on Google unearthed this little discussion, from Thurrock Council, too. Not a bad little earner, for a week or two's work - and they kept it pretty quiet, until now.

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