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Wiltshire Council in chaos - Chief Executive to go

September 16, 2011 9:32 AM
By Trevor Carbin

Jane ScottIn an unplanned reaction to the continued financial disintegration at County Hall WC leader Jane Scott has announced her decision to make the chief executive redundant. In a statement to staff released yesterday she says:

"Under the leadership of Chief Executive, Andrew Kerr, who was appointed in January 2010, the council has made radical and positive changes, including saving over £18 million last year and delivering a four-year Business Plan that saves over £100 million, invests over £85 million in to frontline services and protects the most vulnerable in our communities.

However, the pressures on the council's budget both now and in the future are not to be underestimated. Next year the council needs to find additional savings as a result of the reduction in government grant, increased costs as a result of inflation, the increasing number of older people requiring adult care services and young people requiring support.

(I propose) to reduce the senior management costs by a further £500,000 (£8 million has already been saved following a reduction of 220 managers earlier this year).

This further reduction will include the proposed deletion of the chief executive post, the proposed deletion of one corporate director post to reduce the number of corporate directors to three.

The consultation on these proposals has started today (7 September) for a period of two weeks. The proposal and feedback following the consultation period will be considered by Cabinet during the week commencing 26 September. Feedback and views received as part of the consultation process will assist the Cabinet in making a decision on the future senior management structure for Wiltshire Council.

I will keep you updated of the decision of Cabinet following its meeting later this month."

A special meeting of Cabinet has been arranged for next month - October 6th at 12.30 at Bradley Road offices in Trowbridge.

In response Lib Dem group leader Jon Hubbard said:

"We welcome that the Conservative administration are finally listening to us about the excess of taxpayers money spent on senior executives at Wiltshire Council.
I have, in principle and without yet having seen the detail of their proposals, no serious problems with reducing the senior management team down from five to three, although I do not accept the principle that we do not need a Chief Executive. There is a legal requirement for the council to have a 'Head of Paid Service', a role usually assumed by the Chief Exec, and it seems to me that to have an organisation that turns over nearly £1billion a year without someone in overall operational charge is insane.
Why did the Conservative administration appoint Mr Kerr just 20 months ago on a permanent contract and then look to make him redundant? This smacks of very poor strategic planning. Had he been employed on a fixed term interim contract then the exposure to the taxpayers of Wiltshire in terms of redundancy payments would be significantly reduced. Getting rid of Andrew Kerr in this way will be a very expensive exercise.
The senior management team was reorganised just a few months ago, this all appears to be an administration that has simply lost control of the organisation they are supposed to be running."
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Andrew Kerr
Picture: Kerr-ching! Second Tory boss in two years to get a massive pay-off