West Sussex County Council Liberal Democrat Group Leader Dr James Walsh spoke out yesterday (Tuesday January 7th) on the news the Chief Executive is leaving at the end of the month.
The Council announced on Monday the removal the post of Chief Executive currently held by Kieran Stigant. Full Council will be asked to confirm the decision on February 14th.
The Governance Committee is to be asked to agree the temporary appointment of a Chief Operating Officer from within the Council’s current senior management structure and the appointment of an interim Transformation Director.
Cllr Dr Walsh said: “Did he jump or was he pushed? The financial briefing emphasis makes it hard to accept that he was not pushed. Besides this the Leader of West Sussex CC has form, as she sacked his predecessor without following due process. To misquote Oscar Wilde…. ‘To lose one Chief Executive may be unfortunate, but to lose two is just carelessness’.”
Shortly after Cllr Mrs Louise Goldsmith became Leader of the Council in September 2010 the then Chief Executive Mark Hammond was made redundant. It was alleged at the time Mr Hammond was summarily sacked by Cllr Mrs Goldsmith.
Cllr Dr Walsh added: “It will add to an already large and growing crisis of morale among WSCC staff, already reeling from many middle management and front-line staff culling. The financial savings claimed are in any case negligible, and I have to ask why are we to have two people to carry out his former role, even though one is claimed as temporary.
“The Conservative leadership seems hell-bent on outsourcing as much of its services as possible, on an ideological quest to do away with much of local government as we know it. It has been presented as a fait accompli, without any discussion outside the Cabinet, and without any scrutiny whatsoever by the full Council or even a scrutiny committee.
“ Much of the Council’s service base will be outsourced over the coming two years, which will inevitably reduce councillor input, scrutiny, and probably value-for –money in the medium to longer term, and in my view will lead to a further increase in residents of West Sussex who are seeing diminished services to the poor, the elderly and vulnerable, and to young people.”
Pictured: Cllr Dr James Walsh