Public Servant magazine reports a Council Chief Executive warning of a "brain drain" of high flying officers in protest at "political interference."
It reports the anonymous Chief Executive saying:
"This job becomes more complex by the day and the utterances that are coming from all political perspectives don't actually encourage people. At this stage in your career when you know you can do other things, you ask yourself 'do I need all this?' There is a risk of local authorities losing experienced officers. Most chief executives love the job and they will tough it out, but for the people that are wavering it may just tip them into thinking 'is this the best way of earning a living?' If I was 10 years younger I would tough it out, but the time is right for me to go."
I think the chief execs probably should be paid six figure salaries but for them to object to "political interference" shows quite the wrong attitude. It's hardly a very democratic approach. They should expect to be accountable to local residents via their elected representatives.
The CEO was also dubious about the argument that elected mayors would make his role redundant:
"There seems to be a consensus emerging that politicians believe they can do a chief executive's job, and I don't agree. Politics should be devoted to connecting with citizens, managing an organisation is making sure it works effectively – they are different things. Would a council leader want to manage day-to-day or instead make things happen for his or her community? Executive power can be constraining. A good partnership means you have the best of both worlds."
This sounds to me like code for saying that the officers should run the show and the councillors should have a PR role serving as their spokesman. This arrogance would be easier to justify if so many councils weren't doing such a rotten job.