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Merger row rumbles on
Updated 4:30pm Wednesday 9th July 2014 in News
MONEY-saving proposals to share a chief executive between Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils are already coming under threat - with councillors in Malvern threatening to scrap the move if they get the opportunity.
As reported in the Journal, both councils have agreed to share a single chief executive from October, saving about £60,000 a year.
But just two weeks after the decision was made, doubt has already been cast over the plan - with opposition councillors from Conservative-controlled Malvern Hills warning they will seek to overturn the decision if they take control of the council at elections next year.
Cllr Tom Wells, Liberal Democrat leader at Malvern Hills, and Cllr Julian Roskams, Malvern's Green leader, have this week written to all Wychavon councillors explaining their decision.
They say: "We would most certainly be prepared to reverse the decision of the current Tory political leadership to share a chief executive and senior management team with neighbouring Wychavon District Council.
"The joint chief executive plan is likely to downgrade Malvern Hills to a satellite of a Pershore-based council."
But the leader of Wychavon District Council, Paul Middlebrough, believes sharing a chief executive is the right move for both councils.
"Many of the successful joint administrative arrangements between the two councils have their origin at time when Malvern Hills was controlled by 'visionary' Liberal Democrats and Wychavon by Conservatives," he said.
"The benefits of progressing shared arrangements, whilst each council retains absolute independency of policy, can only be to the benefit of both residents and taxpayers."
After receiving the letter from the opposition leaders at Malvern Hills, Cllr Andrew Dyke - one of 27 at Wychavon to vote in support of the move - said: "I don't have a problem with that (the letter). I think if a new council comes in they may want to review policies.
"I still think it's the way forward, whether it's with Malvern Hills long term or not, who knows."
But Cllr Liz Tucker - one of four Wychavon councillors to vote against the plan - said: "We had issues with them(Malvern Hills) before over the South Worcestershire Development Plan.
"That's why I voted the way I did. I still believe I voted the right way and I think that's probably been proven."
A special council meeting is set to take place at Malvern Hills later this month to examine the issue again.