Expense culture – now fire brigade chiefs are at it

The Essex Brigade fire chief, David Johnson has jumped firmly onto the rolling gravy train by spending £20,000 of tax payers money towards a move to his new home in … Sussex; yes, Sussex – miles away from the county in which he is supposed to be chief.

Despite having a salary of £148,633 as well as pension contributions of £31,656 a year, Mr Johnson moved from Nottingham to Suffolk but had a temporary base in Essex although the Essex Fire and Rescue service have fought hard to withhold this information from the public which was being sought by FOI requests.

We can understand a package that will allow someone to move across country to take up a job but there is nothing right about charging the taxpayer to move further away from your place of work – there is no sense or reason for it.

The same brigade has spent nearly £46,000 in the past two years for expense claims for seven senior managers.  One manager spent £181 for entertainment at the East India Club, an exclusive gentleman’s club in London while others spent more than £150 for drinks in a pub called, appropriately, The Fleece Inn – well he’s certainly fleecing the public purse that’s for sure.  Another puts his daily Starbucks coffee on expenses and has a regular monthly bill at The Rubens at the Palace luxury hotel for £165.

Perhaps the worst of this is that the brigade is cutting its force from 52 to 24 in an effort to save £10million from its budget – men and women are losing their jobs so those at the top can enjoy a luxury lifestyle at the expense of the taxpayer.

This endemic abuse has got to stop.

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