The demise of the Head Bureaucrat
Paul Walker quotes two observations on the resignation of uber-Bureaucrat Mark Prebble. My own, for what it's worth, would be "One down. Three-hundred thousand to go." And: "It's never a bad day when another bureaucrat clears his desk." Paul's are more thoughtful.
The first, to paraphrase, is "Health reasons. Yeah, right." Neither you, nor I, nor his employers believe he's resigning for his health, not unless being the chosen scapegoat for the politicised public service has become life-threatening as well as career-threatening.
Prebble's resignation seems an appropriate time to examine something else: why bureaucrats get paid so damn much to do so little. Apparently they're paid up to twenty percent on average more than people doing real jobs. Writes John Gibson in the National Business Review, (reporting on research into why public servants in New Zealand get paid 20 per cent more than similar workers in the private sector):
My research shows that this pay gap is not due to obvious differences in job conditions, such as stress, whether jobs require physical labour, how interesting the work is or the scope for improving ones skills.As Paul Walker suggests, twenty percent obviously wasn't enough to keep Prebble. Like everyone else, I now look forward now to reading what stories he can tell in his memoirs.
But the source of this pay gap has become apparent in recent months. It's the "bite your lip and be the fall guy" premium.