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  • "The truth is that there is no need to cut services ... the Council can be funded quite easily if the will of the people is there.

    Simply double the Council Tax. There would have to be a referendum (on any rise over 5%) and more than 50% of those who vote would need to back it .... but if it's what the people want, so be it. And we can keep all our services. Because Central Government will keep cutting until they don't subsidise Councils any more, it is the only option .... eventually.

    But when it is rejected ... as it most certainly will as Turkey's (in the form of the ratepayers) really don't vote for Christmas ... then nobody can complain when services from schools to social services are cut to the bone and beyond. Our roads will become grassy tracks, no busses will be subsidised, old people will have to fend for themselves without carers, school books will never be renewed, teachers can have as many training days as they want (without pay, indeed fined for taking unauthorised holidays), we'll have to stop heating public buildings (including schools), shut all the libraries and museums - oh yes, and cut out Councillors allowances and discretionary funds. We could cut the idiot who keeps putting up traffic lights and turn all the traffic lights off and just ask drivers to be a bit careful at junctions. Fire cover could be cut too and just let any fires burn out naturally (even if they spread to other properties). We could sell off County Hall to a Hi Tec Company who will create jobs and revenue and the few staff who remain at the County Council can work out of one of the closed down schools. Cut out all consultants too. No need for a high pay Chief Exec, because they'd only have a few staff to supervise. Just promote one of the better clerical officers - might as well because it's how they fill vacancies at the moment, just asking a junior officer to take over the duties of the departed person without any extra pay or promotion.

    And these columns would be almost empty because nobody could legitimately complain because it would have been the choice of the electorate."
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Bid for County Hall to 'go without' a chief executive is thrown out

Trish Haines, the current county council chief executive

Trish Haines, the current county council chief executive

First published in News Evesham Journal: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

CALLS for Worcestershire County Council to go without a chief executive once Trish Haines retires have been thrown out – despite 23 politicians backing it.

During a crunch vote at County Hall the entire Labour group, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and several independents all backed a bid for the authority to employ nobody at all from the spring.

In the end, 27 councillors from the controlling Conservative group had to team up to reject the motion, saying it would be “ludicrous” to agree to it.

Mrs Haines, who earns £176,000 a year, is retiring by May and adverts are currently out searching for a replacement, who will be paid £151,000 rising to £170,000 by 2017.

The opposition parties said due to unprecedented cuts at County Hall, with £98 million due to be slashed off budgets by 2017, they should leave the role unfilled.

Instead, the current chief executive responsibilities could be shared among the directors, given to leader Councillor Adrian Hardman, or handed to one director rewarded with a promotion.

It was laughed out by the Tories, who said the request could cause chaos and leave staff clueless about who was really in charge.

Coun Hardman said: “The reason I do think we need a chief executive more than ever is because we do live in extraordinary times, and that requires someone strong to be in charge.

“We did consider sharing a chief executive with another council but quickly discounted it because there was nobody we could see fitting in easily, and we also looked at the ‘great leader’ model, but I decided against that one as I suspect I haven’t the judgement or patience to pull it off.

“I struggle to think of any great organisations or companies who operate without a chief executive.”

Councillor Marcus Hart, the cabinet member for health and well being, said: “We need someone at the helm of an organisation which spends £300 million of public money on services in our county, the idea we could run without one is nonsensical.

“Do we have schools without head teachers, operations in hospitals with no surgeons, planes with no pilots? If you follow the logic through, where does it end?”

Councillor Tom Wells, from the Liberal Democrat group, said: “I wouldn’t normally propose something like this but we live in extraordinary times and are imposing draconian cuts on the most vulnerable members of society.”

Labour supported his bid to leave the role vacant and review it periodically, which was backed by all the opposition councillors, but it was defeated by just four votes.

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