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Could Worcestershire County Council do without a chief executive?
CALLS are being made to scrap the hunt for a new chief executive at Worcestershire County Council – amid claims the job could be abolished altogether.
The opposition Labour group says that the council could do without a chief executive and vowed if it ever took power at County Hall, the role would be scrapped.
Now, the group wants to delay the current recruitment process by up to four months to launch an investigation into alternatives to bringing in a new boss.
As your Worcester News first revealed in November, current chief executive Trish Haines is taking early retirement in the spring.
She earns £176,000 and adverts have already been taken out for a replacement, with pay starting from £151,000 and rising to £170,000 by around 2017.
But Labour says the council could do without a top boss at all, instead promoting a current worker heading up one of the individual departments.
However, the idea has been rubbished by the Conservative administration, which has called the stance “bizarre”.
Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: “We’ve got a shrinking authority, services are being cut, jobs are going and we don’t think we need a chief executive.
“We know what the key legal requirements are and we don’t need to employ anyone to this job, especially on £150,000 to £170,000.
“When you talk to residents, they are furious.
“When you think what normal people are earning, these council bosses aren’t in the real world.
“We have a duty to warn any person considering applying for the job that we will abolish the post if we take control of the council.”
Although it is rare, in recent years some councils have chosen to do away with the chief executive role.
In 2011, Wiltshire Council was the first major authority to do so, sharing the responsibilities across three corporate directors instead, saving £500,000 since then.
Rugby Council then did the same, giving their leader and two executive directors extra roles to make up for it.
South Holland District Council, in Lincolnshire, also shares its chief executive role with neighbouring town halls.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader, said: “The rate we are looking to pay is already one of the lowest.
“What Labour wants to do is bizarre, it’s the kind of thing that does councils no good and I think the average person in the street thinks we do need a chief executive.
“Wiltshire Council is struggling (without a chief executive) and it’s not something I’d propose we do.”
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