Chief executive powers may go to council boss
ROYAL Borough leader, councillor David Burbage, has not ruled out taking over powers previously held by the chief executive.
The chief and deputy chief executives of the borough left in July and today (Friday) respectively.
A Conservative councillor, who did not want to be named, told The Observer it was a 'done deal' Cllr Burbage would take a more hands-on role and there were no plans to make replacement appointments.
Rugby Borough Council was the first authority to install such a system when its leader, Cllr Craig Humphreys, took an additional £6,000 a year to perform ambassadorial tasks in 2010.
There is no timetable to complete the management restructure and Cllr Burbage said: "There are different models across the country and we are looking at all of them as we go through a transition from the current arrangement." Authorities in Reading, Wiltshire and Leicester have removed the chief executive position in a bid to make huge savings, but critics of giving more power to the leader say it blurs the lines between politicians and officers.
Jo Porter, Unison representative at the Royal Borough, said: "He (the chief executive) needs to be impartial when it comes to political issues and someone with a proven track record running a large organisation. With respect to Cllr Burbage, he doesn't really fit that particular mould."
Cllr Malcolm Beer, an Independent for Old Windsor, said: "It is preposterous to suggest the all-powerful boss of an overwhelming majority of councillors should take over the role of the most senior officer and advisor to the council. We need a far more responsible solution to this issue."
Cllr Burbage wanted to run for the newly created, up to £100,000 a year, Police and Crime Commissioner role in November, but missed out on the Tory nomination.
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Sep 3, 17:25
This sounds to me like a very bad idea.
I don't recall it being in their manifesto. Besides, what evidence is there that Cllr Burbage has any experience of running a large and complex organisation?
Fusing together the political leadership (from Councillors) and the operational leadership (from Council Officers) is something that has been resisted everywhere else.
The Chief Exec should advise and guide the Leader of the Council and help them implement their manifesto. They should not be the same person.
Recommend? Yes 2 No 0