Spanish local politicians, actually quite reasonably priced?

Potential earnings of Spanish mayors and executive councillors were the Dutch system to be adopted.

In the sprawling debate re political greed and pay disparities at a municipal level there has afaik been a lack of serious comparison with other EU countries. Since it is not completely inconceivable that municipal financial reform will be imposed by Brussels without reference to domestic opinion, I thought it would be interesting to guesstimate how much the average Spanish mayor and executive councillor might earn (salary + expenses) under an adapted version of the Dutch system, which is transparent and widely accepted.

I say average because Holland has much smaller regional disparities in prices and GDP per cap – evidently a village mayor in the Barcelona periphery should make more than one in Cáceres. Holland also has no large cities – Amsterdam is about 700,000 – so some extrapolation would be required.

Anyways, the chart assumes 14 monthly salary payments and 12 (fixed) expense payments per annum and the Spanish numbers are arrived at by reducing according to Eurostat’s 2011 GDP per cap figures.

The data at SueldosPublicos.com lacks clarity (what’s included, what not) and organisation (spreadsheets, anyone?), but a couple of examples suggest that some of its more succulent headlines may be misplaced. For example,

  • if Núría Marín Martínez, mayoress of Hospitalet de Llobregat really only makes 77K salary + 27K expenses, the Dutch might be able to put up with her.
  • Xavier Trias, mayor of Barcelona (= >2*Amsterdam), doesn’t look overpriced at 147K all in.

My sensation in general is that they should probably be earning rather more, and of course that there should be rather less of them. But the hammers are unlikely to be stowed just yet.

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Comments

  1. @Nige: Haha, not by a long chalk. I think one important difference is that Dutch mayors are named by central government on the basis of proposals made by councils which require Interior’s approval, and I think that reduces the number of lunatics, idiots and thieves in the job – I can’t recall a case of a mayor there being sent to prison. There has however been a shift in (establishment?) opinion since the mid-90s in favour of elected mayors, which might change all that.
    @ANUn: I’ve no doubt you’re right, particularly given the far closer relationship between mayor and place in Spain, but if a payscale is established I’d be most surprised if it gets anywhere near the figures in the chart. Paying politicians less favours those parties better able to generate other forms of income for their representatives, which, with union and other subsidies falling, probably helps PP-CiU-PeneV etc.

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