The chief executive of Coventry City Council has been accused of failing to lead by example in today’s Coventry Telegraph after hiring himself a second personal assistant whilst driving administration cuts through the rest of the authority.
Martin Reeves, who reportedly brings in a cool £175,000 per year for his duties at Coventry, has been accused of hypocrisy by one elected member who questioned just how necessary it was for the chief exec of a council to have the support of two full-time assistants when the CEOs of many private companies happily suffice with one. Indeed, it’s probably worth pointing out that there are chief executives at bigger councils who bring home less money and make do with one secretary.
Of course this is made all the more insulting, not only by the fact its costing taxpayers mid-recession, but also because it’s Reeves himself who has ordered a cull of backroom staff as part of a plan to save £10million over the next year.
Though obviously it’s heartening to hear of a council attempting to streamline by rooting out unnecessary staff costs in order to protect frontline services, stories like this inevitably breed resentment and suspicion as, once again, it appears that rules don’t apply to the higher echelons of the local government executive whom people expect – quite rightly –to set an example, cutting their own costs in line with other reforms at the authority.
One extra salary might not be cataclysmic in terms of Coventry City Council’s budget, but there’s no doubt that this appointment can be viewed heavy-handed and insensitive, and a chief executive who had a hands-on empathetic relationship with staff and taxpayers alike would certainly have thought twice before expanding their own personal empire.