SIR – I accept I may be somewhat behind the times but I was still rather surprised to see in the new edition of City Life magazine (issue 20, June 2012) that Worcester City Council has a managing director – Duncan Sharkey.

Is the council now a private company? Is the Mayor of Worcester just another nostalgic figurehead who no longer does any work relating to the city council but looks very grand in all his chains and cloaks for the paparazzi, but still costs us a small fortune in expenses?

What does Mr Sharkey do for his wages and, more importantly, who pays him?

Why can’t the mayor do the job Mr Sharkey does, and which the mayors of times past used to do?

If Worcester City Council now operates on the lines of a private business corporation, are there not legal questions regarding collection of taxes and delivery of services?

Any individual will know that suing a private company for lack of, or poor, service is more straightforward than taking on a service provided under the guise of government.

I am intrigued.