Following a £10,000 consultants report, Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart has decided not to replace Council Chief Exec Barbara Spicer and Strategic Director, Martin Vickers, who were either forced out or quit, depending on which rumour you believe.
Instead he's going to replace them with a rather expensive £70,000 Council Manager who will be responsible for `a limited number of the Council's statutory functions'.
"With cuts of an unprecedented scale looming, it is important that the City Council's top priority is providing quality services to the people of Salford" Stewart told his own website this afternoon "Getting rid of the Chief Executive post and appointing a Council Manager will save Salford's taxpayers more than £1million."
Barbara Spicer pulled in £208,000 including add-ons last year, while Martin Vickers trousered £134,000 including add-ons – plus the costs of their substantial pay-offs, yet to be fully disclosed. Stewart mentioned nothing about cutting his own £69,000 allowances and those of his 13 Assistant Mayors.
The savings on management, he added "will be ploughed into protecting our front-line services."
Salford Council has already earmarked £5.34million of cuts up to 2014-15 in frontline services affecting vulnerable adults for Telecare, short breaks, transport, welfare rights and nursing placements – and there's nothing on the Council's website stating that these will be reversed. Many Salford Council services are also being hived off and privatised, leaving little for senior managers to manage any more.
Steve North, Branch Secretary of Salford City UNISON, broadly supported the top management cull…
"It is welcome that the City Mayor has decided not to fill the roles of Chief Executive and Strategic Director for Customer and Support Services" he told the Salford Star "£70,000 for the proposed Council Manager is still a wage that most of our members could only dream of, but this definitely indicates a step in the right direction.
"What UNISON would like to see is the Mayor build on this commitment to making sure Council resources are spent on the right things by involving unions, service users and the public in drawing up of a budget that genuinely protects the services that we all need, and that challenges this Government and any future Labour Government to support Salford" he added "There is much more to do, but this could be a significant turning point."
While many Salford people will welcome the top management cull, it does concentrate even more power in the hands of Ian Stewart, with a worrying lack of transparency and openness at the core of the Council (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
For further details on Barbara Spicer's Council exit and Martin Vickers Council exit - click here and click here