Editor’s weekly column: Time will tell over chief exec move

Neil Pickford is the editor of the Harborough Mail
Neil Pickford is the editor of the Harborough Mail

The success of Harborough District Council’s decision to carry on without a chief executive for the foreseeable future can only be judged in the fullness of time.

But it will either prove to be an inspired decision or a costly compromise to save money.

Make no mistake, the council’s political leaders have not chosen to do away with the role last filled by Anna Graves until her departure earlier this year (see Mail, page 7 this week).

To the best of our knowledge, it is likely that if she had not resigned, she would still be in post.

No, this is a decision of expediency based upon the council’s need to save more and more money as it wrestles with the demands of what appears to be an over-stretched budget.

It is indicative of the public sector’s continued need to mend and make do to get through tough economic times.

Despite what you may have read about the upturn in the economy, these are still tough times for those in local government.

More cuts will follow, you can be sure of that.

But back to the matter in hand. Can the position of chief executive of a local authority ever be a luxury?

Do we need a single individual who will oversee the day-to-day operation of the council?

Or can it be done by committee?

These are questions that nobody can answer right now.

Most organisations need an identifiable boss. The person at which the buck stops.

In local authorities that should always be the leader of the council.

Now, more than ever, Cllr Blake Pain finds himself in that position of responsibility.

Column by Neil Pickford.

Follow Neil on Twitter, @NeilPickfordHM.