Our managers and their money.
THE HUGO BOSS PRIZE 2010: Hans-Peter Feldmann at the Guggenheim Museum. Image from an article on freshome.
So a long-awaited review on local ministerial pay is finally out.
A couple of days ago, TODAYonline reported the following:
The committee set up to review ministerial salaries has submitted its report to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and the Government is now studying the recommendations.
Channel NewsAsia understands that the report is expected to be made public early next month.
It also understands from several Members of Parliament (MPs) that the report is expected to be debated in Parliament soon. Next month could see two sessions of Parliament- one on Jan 9 as announced by the Clerk of Parliament – and a second sitting on Jan 16.
However, committee chairman Gerard Ee had said earlier that, with regard to how and when the report will be made public, the committee will stand guided by the Prime Minister.
The report comes after nearly seven months of consultations with the public, politicians and human resource experts. The review was announced by Mr Lee at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet at the Istana on May 21 this year, following the General Election.
Political salaries are currently pegged to top private sector pay.
Analysts say the report will likely go through a first run with Cabinet ministers before details are released to People’s Action Party MPs, possibly at the party caucus on Jan 3. They will have to decide whether to accept the report, or if they would go even further than what have been recommended.
They may even consider whether the recommendations will set the tone for top public sector pay.
Once these issues have been discussed, the report will be made public and debated in Parliament.
Analysts say it is important that the report is clear on the rationale for its recommendations, and that the new formula is seen as fair and acceptable.
The new wages will be backdated to May 21.
(Read the original here.)
Image from freshome.
Just to put into perspective that claim about managerial … sorry, ministerial salaries being “pegged to top private sector pay”, this is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:
In April 2007, the Prime Minister’s annual salary increased to S$3.1 million (US$2.05 million), about five times that of the then President of the United StatesGeorge W. Bush who earned US$400,000. The annual entry-level salary for ministers increased from $1.2 million to $1.6 million, and was projected to rise to 88% of the private sector benchmark by the end of 2008. Almost half of ministers’ pay packages was made up of an individual performance bonus decided by the Prime Minister, and a variable bonus component based on the country’s prevailing gross domestic product and capped at eight months of each minister’s annual salary. The pay increases were justified by the Government on the grounds that the salaries had to keep pace with those in the private sector to attract the best talent and to avoid corruption ……
In 2008, the annual salary for entry-level ministers was $1,924,300. In view of the worsening economic crisis in 2008–2009, as of January 2009 the Prime Minister’s salary was cut to $3.04 million, while the pay of ministerial-grade officers was reduced by 18% to $1.57 million. In November 2009 the Public Service Division announced that pay increments would be deferred for a second time in 2010 because of the uncertain economic recovery. A minister’s 2009 salary of $1,494,700 per year was therefore 22% lower than what he or she received in 2008.
(The relevant article here.)
The artist and his money. I mean, art. Image from T Magazine’s blog.
In anticipation of this momentous event (the findings of the report have yet to be made public), I’ve included pictures of Hans-Peter Feldmann’s installation last year at the Guggenheim, where he tacked a hundred thousand used dollar bills to the wall of a gallery. Feldmann had won the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize – and the prize money, unsurprisingly, was a hundred grand.
From a write-up on the Guggenheim’s site:
The installation, which uses money that has previously been in circulation, extends the artist’s lifelong obsession with collecting familiar material into simple groupings that reveal a nuanced play of similarity and difference. Throughout his practice, Feldmann has frequently divided an apparent whole into separate components; he has photographed every item in a woman’s wardrobe (All the clothes of a woman, 1973), presented individual images of the strawberries that make up a pound of fruit (One Pound Strawberries, 2005), and created a sequence of 100 portraits showing individuals of every age in a collective lifespan of a century (100 Years, 2001).
Feldmann also has a history of resisting the art world’s commercial structures, issuing his work in unsigned, unlimited editions and retiring from art making altogether for nearly a decade in the 1980s, at which point he gave away or destroyed the works remaining in his possession. Bank notes, like artworks, are objects that have no inherent worth beyond what society agrees to invest them with, and in using them as his medium, Feldmann raises questions about notions of value in art. But his primary interest in the serial display of currency lies less in its status as a symbol of capitalist excess than in its ubiquity as a mass-produced image and a material with which we come into contact every day. At its core, this formal experiment presents an opportunity to experience an abstract concept—a numerical figure and the economic possibilities it entails—as a visual object and an immersive physical environment.
All that green – and still but a fraction of what Singapore’s ministers earn.
When you take quantities out of its numerical abstraction and into the reified realm of money’s material reality, the immediacy of it can be … overwhelming.
Image from freshome.