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Scrapping chief executive role could 'harm' Harrow Borough Council
A councillor has warned members risk causing ‘possible harm’ to the authority by removing the role of chief executive.
At a meeting of Harrow Borough Council’s cabinet the Conservative administration agreed to get rid of the position of chief executive as of March 1 this year.
A new management structure for the council was also agreed by the cabinet which will have a head of paid service with five corporate directors below them.
During the meeting Cllr Bill Philips spoke about a report written by a challenge panel from the overview and scrutiny committee and raised concerns about the decision.
He said: “I feel you are trying to run the council as micro enterprise.
“A £600million organisation like this is run by policy, which is our role as councillors, and by process, which is the role council officers.
“But when these two things cross over, we are close to doing possible harm.”
In response leader of the council Susan Hall said: “We are not frightened of making difficult decisions.
“The report pointed out that a weak leader may need a chief executive to tell them what to do.
“I do not need someone to tell me what to do with the council but I understand how a weaker leader may need a chief executive.
“If someone else comes into power in May they are welcome to spend £250,000 a year of having someone to tell them what to do.”
Non-executive members of the cabinet Cllr David Perry and Cllr Graham Henson also raised concerns about the move.
Cllr Henson compared the move to that of a dictatorship and said there had been now consultation with councillors, staff or residents about the plans.
Cllr Perry said: “I think the way you have handled this has been terrible.
“This council is not about the abilities of the leader, it is about the staff and the residents, and I think you are on the wrong side of staff with this decision.”
In response cabinet member for performance and recourses Paul Osborn said: “I think this is the right decision when we are facing cuts to front line services.
“It means we can look our staff in the eye and show there isn’t one rule for the top level and another for the rest of the workforce.”
The decision come after proposals to get rid of the position were first announced last year by leader of the council Susan Hall, who shortly after launched a consultation on the plans.
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