LGC talks to the elected mayors of Watford, Torbay, Hackney, Hartlepool and Newham, to get their opinions on whether mayors should be able to abolish the position of chief executive within their councils.
That way madness lies.
Councils need both managerial and political leadership.
To suggest the two can be conflated into one is to understand neither.
Mayor Dorothy Thornhill (Lib Dem), Watford Borough Council
A mayor should do the hiring/ firing but then leave the officers to manage the council.
Politicians should decide the “what” and the officers should do the “how”.
Mayor Nick Bye (Con), Torbay Council
In the case of some councils, you are talking about running an organisation with turnovers of £1bn.
The best person to represent the local people and come up with the local vision will not necessarily be the best person to run the council machine.
Mayor Jules Pipe (Lab), Hackney LBC
The idea is potentially a recipe for disaster - we should leave management to the professionals.
I don’t know how many mayors have the required experience to run a council but I don’t think it would be that many, and I don’t think many mayors would want to take over the chief executive’s role anyway.
Mayor Stuart Drummond (Ind), Hartlepool Borough Council
There are two totally different jobs here and to misunderstand this is what we would expect from a Conservative spokesperson.
The mayor is the community leader and should not be trying to manage the organisation too.
Mayor Sir Robin Wales (Lab), Newham LBC