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  • "In Worcestershire most of us have five layers of Government and bureaucracy:
    Parish/Town Council (for the rural and some of the urban areas.

    All effectively set taxes and cost tax payers in terms of councillor and administrative expenses. I'm sure I'm not the only one is less than convinced that as taxpayers this is value for money or an effective way of getting efficient and co-ordinated services.

    The simplest solution is to reduce the layers of bureaucracy. Obviously UKIP and some of the Tories want to extract us from Europe, but that's unlikely and certainly not in the short term. We certainly need a national Government.

    The scope for de-layering is therefore local. Why does Worcestershire need three layers of local government when the majority of residents in the UK have single unitary authorities that do everything and where there is much more scope for reducing the wasteful factional infighting and posturing between Districts and County.

    All of our local Councillors have been happy enough to restructure, de-layer and sack lots of Council staff. Isn't it about time they did this themselves and took the logical step to set up Worcestershire as a Unitary Authority?

    Its not as though we'd notice much of a difference as most of them have 'jobs' on both the County and District/City and many are also parish and town councillors too!

    We'd also need only one Chief Executive instead of seven!"
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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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