PARTY leaders at Malvern Hills District Council are at loggerheads again over the ongoing saga surrounding the proposal to share a chief executive with Wychavon.
September’s Full Council meeting has been brought forward by three weeks and will be held on Tuesday (September 2) where opposition groups; Lib Dems and Democratic, will table alternative options for re-organising the council’s management structure.
Respective leaders, Councillors Tom Wells and Julian Roskams, have also written a joint letter to the Government claiming the council’s application for a Transformation Challenge Award (TCA) worth up to £400,000, which is designed to ease the transition, is ineligible because the council remains so divided on the proposal.
Coun Wells said: “The shared chief exec model that is being foisted upon us by the Tory administration, without consideration of the alternatives, offers poor value for money for the folks of Malvern Hills and would inevitably lead to most jobs and decision-making being transferred to Wychavon District Council based in Pershore.
“There are surely better options and we are determined that those should be properly explored.”
Both opposition leaders maintain the Tories acted illegally in order to overturn a move to open up the shared CEO position to other candidates as well as the two existing chiefs.
Coun Roskams added: “It is regrettable that the leadership flagrantly ignored our legal advice and pressed ahead with its plan to overturn the previous decision of council in favour of a closed recruitment process.”
But council leader David Hughes dismissed the claims. He said: “MHDC and Wychavon each voted democratically to move towards the sharing of a chief executive and as such the councils are eligible for the TCA funding bid to help toward the costs.
“This arrangement is well established and successful elsewhere throughout the country and is recognised by the Government as a positive move for ward.”
In an angry swipe at his opposing counterparts, he added: “The stalling tactics of the opposition are unbelievably short sighted. They have tried to frustrate the process and refused to engage at every step.
“Their disagreement is based on false assumptions and fantasy.
“The two councils’ aim is to share this post, make significant overhead savings for residents, improve the resilience of the organisations in the longer term, and maintain high quality, cost effective services. It is as simple as that.
“If the opposition don’t want this they can do just what they did previously and vote against it.
“But seeking to overturn the democratic decision of council to further their own political ambitions and making scurrilous claims is a discredit to the residents of this district and brings the council into disrepute.”