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Elected chiefs are widely opposed

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Conservative councillors have overwhelmingly reject their party’s proposal that elected mayors should take over the role of chief executive.

Only 33% of Tory councillors say the plan would work on their council, with 59% saying it would fail, a ComRes survey for LGC has revealed.

Among councillors of other colours, opposition is even greater, with only 6% of Labour members and 5% of Liberal Democrats endorsing the plan for their authority.

LGC revealed that none of the respondents to a poll of half of the existing elected mayors in England backed the plan.

The proposal was unveiled by shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman at the Conservative Party conference when she promised “elected mayors who can hire and fire, and really grip spending - without an unelected officer telling them what to do”.

Andy Sawford, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit, said the poll findings reflected concerns about the merger of managerial and political leadership.

He said the model being proposed was most similar to the ‘elected mayor assisted by a council manager’ system that was abandoned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council last year.

“There are questions about the different skills that political and managerial leaders have and bring to the running of a local authority,” Mr Sawford said.

“The advantage is that the model leads to a potential saving but most leaders or mayors say that they need the additional capacity that a chief executive brings.”

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