THE Conservative leadership at Worcestershire County Council has refused to rule out axing the role of chief executive – with a crunch debate due to be held on it in July.
Leader Councillor Simon Geraghty has asked an in-house appointments panel to investigate the pros and cons of the top £155,00-a-year role.
The entire full council will then be asked to debate the job on Thursday, July 13 to make a crucial decision over which long-term direction to take.
It follows a decision to appoint former Northumberland County Council boss Stephen Stewart to the job for “six to nine months”, a move which was ratified yesterday.
As the Worcester News revealed two days ago, the decision to make his appointment fixed-term is because the Tory administration wants time to consider the role’s future.
In recent months it has come under pressure from Labour to either slash the pay or ditch the job altogether, and employ a ‘head of paid service’ to run County Hall.
Cllr Geraghty’s tactic came during a full council meeting yesterday, where a debate raged over the salary of the post.
During the meeting tributes were also paid to outgoing chief executive Clare Marchant, who is leaving in June to to run university admissions service UCAS.
Cllr Geraghty said: “There will be a discussion at the next council (in July) about the role, that will be after the appointments panel look at it.
“We have a responsibility for a net spend of over £300 million every year and must ensure we attract the right calibre of candidate to run this organisation.
“Once we’ve had that debate in July I hope we can all get behind it and send out a united message over the recruitment process.”
Labour leader Councillor…
click here to read more.