Lancashire

Pendle Borough Council axes chief executive post

Stephen Barnes Image copyright Pendle borough council
Image caption Stephen Barnes, who has worked for the authority since its inception 40 years ago

The chief executive post has been axed at a council in Lancashire as part of plans to save £4m over two years.

Pendle Borough Council members voted in favour of a reshuffle of its senior staff, which will save £84,000 a year.

Two new senior posts will be created under the plans that were discussed by councillors during a meeting.

Chief executive Stephen Barnes was praised for his "unmatched dedication to Pendle" by all political parties. He will be made redundant in March.

The deputy chief executive post and other senior council staff positions will also be axed, to make savings from April next year.

A strategic director, on a salary of £90,000, and a corporate director, on a salary of £85,000, will share responsibility for leading officers roles in the council.

Mr Barnes, who has worked for the authority since its inception 40 years ago, was one of three senior bosses who had their salaries slashed in 2010.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, who run the council, reduced the combined wages of Mr Barnes and executive directors Philip Mousdale and Brian Cookson by £120,000.


Analysis

Chris Rider, BBC Radio Lancashire political reporter

So can our local councils manage without a chief executive?

Pendle Council thinks it can, but the move has been made for financial reasons.

There is no suggestion this trend will carry on. Some councils do rely on them for their expertise and at times their political acumen.

Burnley Borough Council's Steve Rumbelow, for example, has played a major role in the campaign to improve the rail links with Manchester.

While during his time at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Graham Burgess was not afraid to stand up to the government claiming the council had been "victimised" buy the cuts.

West Lancashire have for the last three years managed without a chief executive, replacing the post with two senior officers to work side by side.

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