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Elected mayor proposes to scrap chief executive job

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Leicester’s elected mayor is to remove the post of city council chief executive.

Sir Peter Soulsby (Lab) said this was the first step in a programme of savings from culling senior management posts as the council deals with a £100m cut in government funding over three years.

Chief executive Sheila Lock has been on sick leave since March. She had initiated a review before that which aimed to save £1.8m by deleting seven senior posts, but Sir Peter said he wanted a higher level of savings.

He said: “I made it very clear during my election campaign that, if elected, I planned to reduce the costs of senior management at the council.

“The first part of this process has now commenced and I am announcing my proposal to remove the role of chief executive.”

A formal consultation has started with Ms Lock, who has held the post since 2008. Deputy chief executive Andy Keeling is currently acting as chief executive.

Leicester is legally required to have a head of paid service even if it lacks a chief executive and Sir Peter said he had begun a process to identify who that should be.

“Obviously we will consider all points raised by the present chief executive as part of this consultation,” he said.

“This consultation will remain confidential. Once this process is complete and a final decision made, I then intend to develop proposals to review the rest of the senior management structure, with a view to contributing to our savings agenda.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Roger

    One departing member of staff did ask me if the ongoing pressure to bring the politicans ever closer to the operational side of the council might not be akin to 'the lunatics taking over the asylum'.
    There wasn't any bitterness in the question, but more a concern that, apart from a core of the very ambitious, most elected members stood for election on the basis of wanting to improve things by being one of the stokers rather than becoming the engine driver.
    As this culling of the 'expensive' professionals from local government, in favour of the anbitious (but genrally totally unqualifed) volunteer picks up pace, how long will it be before we begin to see reports of serious shortcomings in the operation of this or that local authority? Accepting of course that Angelsey managed to do this under the existing system!
    Are we in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past, where a previous government felt that, to the longterm detriment of us all, some local authorites had too much financial power and were using it in such a cavalier fashion, that centralised control was the only answer?
    Would anybody care to forecast how long it will be before we find ourselves back where were pre-General Election?
    Or will the drive to professionalise the elected member, prevent that happening and we are now on the road to a political system similar to one one we all now so admire, the good ol' USA?

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