Bath Council disappoints

July 28, 2011 10:23 AM

For a moment the spirit of the TPA seemed to be with Bath and North East Somerset Council as they discussed the possibility of dumping their ludicrously overpaid chief executive. A report to a meeting of the council’s restructuring implementation committee (big name, little results) asked them to consider reducing the number of senior council managers and saving £2 million. Part of this would have involved doing away with the position of chief executive—currently paid over £212,000—and having the role covered by three other senior managers. The idea being that some of the money frittered away in senior pay packets would go to frontline services.

Come Monday this week, however, at a meeting to which the public were excluded, the three-member B&NES committee, featuring one Lib-Dem, one Conservative and one Labour member, rejected the advice of the report and chose to keep their chief executive. Reading the 20-page document they were asked to consider, it seems very much that the proposed re-structuring is merely a game of musical chairs with executive posts simply being given different titles. I can’t see any precise reference whatsoever to saving taxpayers’ money through pruning the management structure.

As one disappointed Bath resident put it: ‘It sends the wrong signal out to employees losing their jobs and it also annoys people like me who have to pay the same council tax for fewer services yet see some guy get paid a stupid salary.’ Exactly!For a moment the spirit of the TPA seemed to be with Bath and North East Somerset Council as they discussed the possibility of dumping their ludicrously overpaid chief executive. A report to a meeting of the council’s restructuring implementation committee (big name, little results) asked them to consider reducing the number of senior council managers and saving £2 million. Part of this would have involved doing away with the position of chief executive—currently paid over £212,000—and having the role covered by three other senior managers. The idea being that some of the money frittered away in senior pay packets would go to frontline services.

Come Monday this week, however, at a meeting to which the public were excluded, the three-member B&NES committee, featuring one Lib-Dem, one Conservative and one Labour member, rejected the advice of the report and chose to keep their chief executive. Reading the 20-page document they were asked to consider, it seems very much that the proposed re-structuring is merely a game of musical chairs with executive posts simply being given different titles. I can’t see any precise reference whatsoever to saving taxpayers’ money through pruning the management structure.

As one disappointed Bath resident put it: ‘It sends the wrong signal out to employees losing their jobs and it also annoys people like me who have to pay the same council tax for fewer services yet see some guy get paid a stupid salary.’ Exactly!

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