Transport for London (TfL) has appointed a new transport commissioner following the departure of Sir Peter Hendy, reigniting debate over the role’s £500,000 remuneration package.
After an international recruitment process, Michael Brown was awarded the position having served as interim commissioner since July and previously as TfL's managing director of London Underground and Rail.
As commissioner Mr Brown can expect to be paid up to £533,916 a year if successful, with a basic pay of £355,944 together with a bonus payment each year of up to 50% of salary.
Mike Brown (pictured) described as 'a really strong appointment'
The role is one of the most important public sector positions in the country, in transport possibly only second to the secretary of state and permanent secretary, with the commissioner leading a transport authority that has become envied around the world.
However many in the London Assembly have raised concerns over the pay packet attached to the role and the process behind a commissioner’s appointment.
The Green Party’s, Baroness Jenny Jones AM, told Transport Network: ‘TfL needs to get a better balance between competitive pay rates and pay equality.
‘Under Boris Johnson’s mayoralty the difference between the highest and lowest paid positions in the Greater London Authority, Metropolitan Police Service and London Fire Brigade have all fallen close to or below 10:1 but in TfL it remains stubbornly high at over 25:1.
‘More equal pay is not only morally right, but conducive to a healthier and happier society with less crime. TfL should show more leadership on this.’
She went on to question the performance bonus attached to the role, highlighting mixed evidence as to whether bonuses really improve performance. She added: ‘I don’t believe the bonus structure in TfL is fair or proportionate.’
Labour AM and co-transport board chair at the Assembly, Val Shawcross CBE, said that it was ‘understandable that TfL, which is a major global organisation, would have payment rates that are competitive with the rest of the world’ and went on to describe Mike Brown as ‘a really strong appointment’.
However she did question the appointment process. Ms Shawcross called for greater involvement from cross-party elected members, suggesting representation on the selection panel. She also raised concerns that the appointment seemed to be made too much ‘behind closed doors’.
Andrew Boff, leader of the GLA Conservative Group said: ‘I have long campaigned to reform the pay structure of TfL. It is not simply an issue of top management, but throughout the organisation.
'TfL staff have a gold plated final salary pension scheme, along with generous pay and leave, and have shared none of the pain the rest of the public sector has in terms of pay freezes and pension downgrades. We have raised our concerns through various research reports and the budget process at City Hall and will continue to do so going forward.’