Kim Ryley, the Chief Executive of Shropshire Council has made some disgraceful comments to the Local Government Chronicle attacking spending transparency. He said people "did not want to become armchair auditors", that they were "happy" with the summary of financial information provided on their tax return and he was concerned that providing the information might result in pesky "follow up queries" from "researchers, lobbyists and journalists." There might also be the odd query from Council Taxpayers in Shropshire over what Ryley was spending their money on – especially given his staggeringly cavalier attitude.
In fairness it should be conceded that Shropshire Council does provide more detail on its internal budget that some other councils. (But far less than, for example, Boris Johnson provides over City Hall spending.) This is not a justification for refusing to publish payments to suppliers.
But the CEO's job (if it should exist at all) should be efficient administration. It should be for the Council leader, and the administration councillors, to decide and promote the Council's views. Furthermore if Ryley's opposition to spending transparency represents the views of Shropshire Council then that should be a disturbing matter for local Conservatives.
I will email Cllr Keith Barrow, the Council leader, to ask for an explanation of who is in charge of the clattering train.