Value for money?

December 5, 2009 5:09 PM
Does sharing a Chief Executive give us value for money?

Does sharing a Chief Executive give us value for money?

A report into the benefits of sharing a Chief Executive with Essex County Council failed to fully explain what benefit this brings to Brentwood residents.

The Liberal Democrats feel that Brentwood would be better served by having a dedicated Chief Executive who is totally focused on Brentwood.

Comprehensive financial details were not given, although a saving of £100,000 is quoted, we now have two Executive Directories and there is no comparison between the new and previous structures. There is also no mention of the temporary staff who have been employed, including the former Head of Finance who was paid £12,000 per month for a four-day week (approximately £144,000pa).

Benefits are named as the Highways Localism funding however, other councils in Essex have also benefited from this, without the need for a partnership.

Cllr David Kendall said:

"This review consisted of a very light report that does not relate to reasons given for going into this partnership and does not address the financial situation on this issue.

"We need more detailed and specific information on the real benefits to Brentwood residents and, sadly, that is not forthcoming so far."

Cllr Karen Chilvers asked whether this was an arrangement between the county and borough councils but, surprisingly, the answer was that the arrangement was with Joanna Killian, reported as earning £247,000 in the press, and that this could end should she depart.

"It rather seems that Brentwood residents are being short-changed with only 15% of Ms Killian's salary paid by Brentwood and therefore dedicated to the borough whilst two deputies have been brought in to share the load here. There are questions relating to accountability which have not been satisfactorily answered."

Brentwood's Liberal Democrats will continue to question the arrangement at every opportunity.