There is an interesting note in the annual budget for the Council. This note tells us that 17 council officials get a salary of over £100,000 per annum. I have long wondered what they did to warrant this salary. Well it seems that our taxes paid for 5 of them to get nice new Sony flat screen TV's in their offices. £100,000 to watch telly all day is not bad is it?

Four of these were 40" Sony screens costing £2600 and the chief exec Leo Boland got a 46" model at £3,100 in his office. Now I don't know about you but I am not happy that the sum total of my council tax paid for a telly in a council officials office.

I've asked various councillors about these £100K+ salaries and they say that these are comparable with similar jobs in private industry. They say that these are the salary levels required to attract top talents. Well I don't know about you, but I don't know too many people working for private companies who have a telly in their office.

The council has recently spent £90K on various flat screen telly's. They justified this on the basis that they wouldn't have to hire screens for conferences anymore. So how much did they spend on hiring screens for conferences? Well it seems that the bills for last year amount to £4,397. So this will pay for itself in 22 years, assuming they are still using them then (how many people do you know who still use a 22 year old telly).

If they had put the £93K in a high interest account at 4.75% they would have got £4417.50 per year in interest which would have covered the hire cost and also paid for a round of tea and biscuits for the delegates.

There are three things about this which I find disgusting.

1. The sheer financial incompetance of the matter. There are many things in Barnet which could be improved with £93,000. Are these telly's really the highest priority. Why not put the money into a savings account and use the interest to hire screens?

2. If council officials have time to watch telly in their office, surely we have too many of them? Are they really justifying the fat cat wages.

3. My annual council tax this year has bought a telly for a council official, so has yours and your three best friends in Barnet. Now if you, me and your three best friends wanted to buy telly's for anyone in Barnet, would Boland and his chums be top of the list?

There have been several cases of gross incompetance in Barnet in the past few years. The drafting of the meals on wheels contract last year. The contract of sale for Underhill which has resulted in enquiries costing a million pounds.,The failure to meet eductaional targets reported this week to name but a few.

It seems to me that the council officials aren't concentrating on the job in hand. Will this be helped by them watching telly in their offices all day.