THE leader of Worcester City Council has ruled out sharing a chief executive with Malvern and Wychavon - saying he does not want to get involved in the surprise talks.

Councillor Adrian Gregson says he wants the city to "continue to forge its own identity" with Duncan Sharkey, who earns £106,882 a year as managing director, still at the helm.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, both district councils in Malvern and Wychavon have announced they are looking to share one top boss to save money.

Cllr Gregson's stance comes despite Worcester's Conservative Party not ruling anything out.

He said: "I am aware of their plans but it's not something we've considered joining.

"I do have a lot of contact with the leaders in Malvern and Wychavon over very specific issues, like the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) the Local Enterprise Partnership strategy, and with our shared services, so we do work quite closely.

"But when we took control of the council one year ago we identified stability as a key, and we want to continue to form our own identity.

"We haven't had any discussions - what they do on it is their call."

Councils across the country, which are faced with huge funding cuts, are being actively encouraged by financial sweeteners from the Government to share bosses.

The Government's 'Transition Challenge Fund' offers them an incentive to change structures.

Worcester's opposition Tory group says it would be open minded to any ways that save money.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, group leader, said: "If we were in control we'd be prepared to have a much wider discussion about commissioning our services, which means we might need people at the top with different skill sets to now.

"Initially we'd need our own person at the top, but in the longer-term it becomes a much wider discussion about 'do we need a smaller structure to accommodate these changes'.

"But I wouldn't look at it as a single issue. It's about finding the best people to help shape services and deliver best value for money."

Chris Bocock, chief of executive at Malvern and Jack Hegarty, managing director at Wychavon, both earn individually between £100,000 and £107,004 a year.

The talks were formally announced last week and could lead to one of them departing in a money-saving tactic.