Solo Tory move to axe Council directors fails to find support

Councillor Douglas Ross

A move to reduce the number of senior officer posts at Moray Council was rejected on Wednesday with only one Councillor speaking in favour.

Tory member for Fochabers/Lhanbryde, Douglas Ross, had forced a discussion on the issue of recruitment to senior posts at a meeting of the Full Council.

Councillor Ross expressed disquiet at an earlier meeting over the methods used to fill a vacant Corporate Director post – and then indicated he would not be happy at discussion over the issue of senior posts being discussed behind closed doors.

That led to an open debate this week – but when Mr Ross proposed the removal of three Corporate Director posts with the replacement of one Deputy Chief Executive he could not find another Councillor to back his plan.

The move, which Councillor Ross said was “a missed opportunity”, would have saved the hard-pressed council £220,000 a year.

Part of the debate was heard in closed session later in the day and it was revealed that Councillors had then voted by a 20-4 majority to a motion from council leader Allan Wright that the existing management structure be retained.

Councillor Ross said after the meeting: “Based on figures I received from the human resources team this proposal would have saved the council more than £220,000 ever year – a significant sum when cuts to services and budgets are happening at other levels.

“The chief executive’s report drew criticism from a number of members and I think it’s very unfortunate that this opportunity has been missed.”

In his report to the Council the authority’s Chief Executive, Roddy Burns, said that an analysis and the recent track record of the council belies any concerns that the existing structure of three corporate directors and 10 heads of service was wrong.

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