The Bromsgrove Advertiser reported this week that Bromsgrove District Council have agreed in secret to spend £40,000 headhunting a new chief officer. The costly move was branded ‘obscene’ by Council opposition leader Peter McDonald, though the council clearly know this decision is an extravagant one, as is implicit in the fact that the public and the press were left out of the loop.
Once in position the said chief officer will be commanding a salary of £60,000 and expected to assist the ailing council as part of restructuring moves, which also include appointing two new executive directors.
This council certainly aren’t shy of shelling out inordinate amounts of money in the hope of finding a solution to their problems; Peter McDonald has also voiced complaints about their hiring of ex-Westminster City Council chief-turned consultant Bill Roots on a part-time basis. Roots has now been advising the council for over a year, charging a lucrative £800 per day plus expenses, and although the arrangement was only supposed to last until this June the council leader Roger Hollingworth now expects to keep Roots on board on an ‘as and when needed basis’. Anyone would think that Bromsgrove had money to burn.
This cavalier attitude to spending taxpayers’ money is probably to be expected. Bromsgrove District Council is officially considered to be a ‘poor council’ and a recent Audit Commission Assessment gave it a rating of only 1 out of 4 in the category of ‘value for money’. Hardly a glowing report.
Despite above inflation council tax hikes, here we have another example of a council brazenly spending vast amounts of cash, boosting their numbers of high-salaried staff and consultants as part of expensive restructuring. When services are hitting rock bottom taking on more top-tier staff as an antidote is undoubtedly misled.
If Bromsgrove taxpayers are to have any hope of improvements to their vital services and amenities then the council will have to reassess these expensive moves and resist creating new roles. Only a smaller and more effective council will be able to direct money where it is needed without having to increase levies to account for these large executive salaries.