SENIOR Glasgow councillors are sharing around £400,000 in top-up payments for sitting on bodies funded by the same local authority. Dozens of politicians on Glasgow City Council are benefiting financially from the current administration's policy of setting up or bankrolling "arm's-length" organisations to deliver public services.
All the beneficiaries represent either the Labour party or the SNP.
The revelation follows moves to professionalise councillors' pay by the last Labour-led Scottish Executive.
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As a result of the reforms, councillors receive a minimum salary of £16,234 as well as pension rights.
In practice, local authorities can also hand out a limited number of salary boosts to elected members who carry out senior roles.
Council leaders, spokespeople and committee chairs can receive the extra pay to reflect the prominence of their roles.
However, a number of Glasgow politicians who missed out on the seniority payments are receiving sinecures for sitting on bodies created or funded by the council.
According to the councillors' own financial declarations on the local authority website, as well as other public sources of information, elected members are sharing an additional top-up pot of around £418,385.
Steven Purcell has set up several arm's-length bodies to run council services since he became the Labour leader on the council in 2005.
The move, which covers services ranging from housing repairs to maintaining car parks, was partly intended to allow the new bodies to raise additional sources of funding.
Critics of the policy are now homing in on the payments handed out to councillors who sit on the boards of companies, health partnerships and regeneration outfits.
On the Labour side, Purcell ally Paul Carey receives £6335 for sitting on the board of City Markets, which was set up to manage the council's fruit and flower market, as well as £10,558 for chairing City Parking.
Aileen Colleran, another Labour councillor who is close to Purcell, pockets £6335 for being a board member of City Building - the limited liability partnership which repairs the city's social housing - and the same amount for sitting on Glasgow Cultural Enterprises Ltd.
Gerry Leonard, a senior Labour councillor, is listed as being given £15,836 for chairing City Building, while his colleagues Euan McLeod and James Todd pocket £6355 for sitting on the same organisation.
Stephen Dornan, who receives a salary of £22,063, is given another £6335 for sitting on the new Surplus Land and Property body set up by the council, as is his colleague Hanzala Malik.
Ruth Simpson, another senior Labour councillor, is listed as receiving £10,558 as chair of City Markets, and £15,836 for her role on Cordia LLP, set up to provide care services across the city.
Ruth Black, who defected from Solidarity to Labour in 2007, is also entitled to £6335 from her service on Cordia.
The financial declarations also confirm the payments councillors receive for sitting on bodies in which the local authority has a funding or ownership stake.
Labour's Philip Braat receives £15,836 as non-executive director of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), while James Coleman walks away with £12,062 for sitting on one of the city's health partnerships.
Elizabeth Cameron, the former Lord Provost, is paid £14,781 as vice-chair of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, while's Labour's Patricia Chalmers is listed as making £3167 for her role on Glasgow Clyde Regeneration Ltd.
Big ticket earners include Paul Rooney, who makes £20,294 for his work on the joint police board, and Alistair Watson, who receives £20,294 for his work chairing the transport body SPT.
Both organisations receive funding from sources other than Glasgow City Council.
Five Labour councillors also share a £60,310 pot for sitting on the city's community health partnerships.
Despite the SNP fighting the 2007 Glasgow local election on a pledge to oppose arm's-length bodies, Nationalist councillors also pocket the special top-up payments.
James Dornan, the SNP group leader, makes £17,046 for sitting on the board of the SECC, which is majority-owned by the council.
Kenny McLean, the SNP councillor for Partick West, lands £6335 for board membership of the surplus land LLP, while Grant Thoms receives £6335 for his role on City Parking.
Another Nationalist councillor, David McDonald, is paid £6335 for sitting on another of the local authority's arm's- length bodies, Access, while Iris Gibson is entitled to the same top-up for sitting on City Markets.
It is understood the SNP group is reviewing its formal policy of opposition to the arm's-length bodies.
Councillors from the Greens and the LibDems, as well as the sole Tory member in Glasgow, are not believed to receive any extra payments.
Fifty two of Glasgow's 79 councillors make more than their £16,234 salary, while the top 10 earners are all Labour representatives.
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "The creation of these external organisations has vastly improved the services we provide while, crucially, costing us substantially less.
"It's only right that board members should be paid for the extra work they've done in securing that result."
James Dornan said: "We opposed the setting up of most of the LLPs, and we continue to have doubts about some of them. However, whilst they exist it is important we do scrutinise them."
John Wilson, the SNP MSP for Central Scotland, said: "Clearly, there are issues about the payments being given to elected members, and there should be greater scrutiny of these top-ups, which councillors receive on top of their earnings."