Barlow's Beef: Can we do 'pay as you go' for CEC top execs?


When David Parr became chief executive of the old Macclesfield Borough Council in 2001 he radically changed the management structure appointing his own team on six figure salaries. These were the bright young things that would reduce costs and move the council onwards and upwards.

In reality MBC stayed pretty much where it was while Mr Parr moved onwards and upwards to a new role at Halton Borough Council in 2004.

When the new unitary authority was formed in 2009 Leader Fitzgerald appointed a £200K chief executive who he said was 'aiming for the stars.' In 2012, following a prolonged period of 'sick' leave, she forgot the stars and aimed for the door with a £93K severance package.

Given the pending police enquiries relating to the subsequent council Leader it would be injudicious of me to comment other than to point out that the new council Leader plans to 'reduce costs' by the appointment of an additional Executive Director of Place.

I know very little about this appointment but based on the long and illustrious history of council recruitment I'd suggest cost reduction is not on the cards. In fact I'd go so far as to say that empire building may be nearer the true objective.

I'm not even sure what the title Executive Director of Place actually means but I'm sure it won't be long before he employs an assistant (who probably won't know what it means either).

CEC seem to delight in obscure job titles to compliment their unintelligible corporate speak. This mumbo-jumbo may impress councillors but I doubt voters regard it as best practice even if all the stakeholders are managing their own silos.

It would be hard to name any commercial organisation adding expensive executives in order to 'reduce costs.' I don't know what mathematical theorem denotes that an increase in constituent parts reduces total mass but I'm sure Cheshire East can recite it off by heart.

What I fail to understand is why a council that has cut its number of employees by almost 28 per cent needs to add a highly paid director of anything. Especially as those employees were mainly front line staff the public relied upon to deliver council services. If CEC can't afford infantry how can they afford more Generals?

I wish the new Director well. I'm sure he's a jolly nice chap. As was David Parr, Erika Wenzel, Kim Ryley, Lorraine Butcher etc.etc.

I don't suppose we could do a 'pay as you go' deal?

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Photo: Frank Jordan recently appointed as Executive Director of Place at Cheshire East Council.

Barlows Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Manuel Golding
Tuesday 9th August 2016 at 1:41 pm
How about this for yet another Cheshire East Council rip off?
It's telephone number begins with 0300. When you ask its employees as to the cost of this number, they all say it is either"Free" or "at your normal charge", whatever that is supposed to mean as they never appear to understand it either.
According to the government's own information, , these 0300 numbers are far from free:-
03, 0300 & 0345 numbers are charged at 12p/minute from a land line and from 3p to 45p/minute from a mobile depending on supplier. And these charges exclude Vat.
So pretty expensive!
This is a number for a Council department often where the public requires information re any number of problems requiring explanations or services. The Council should not be taking advantage of its tax payers in this underhand way. But this maybe the reason the Council can "afford" to pay yet another over costly & unnecessary apparatchik to do yet another unneeded "job".
The Council's 0300 numbers are nothing short of a rip-off; the 0300 is implying it is a free call similar to 0500 and 0800 numbers. It should openly use and publish "geographic numbers" only, e.g. 01625, 01270 etc, which are considerably cheaper for mobile and landlines users.
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 10th August 2016 at 1:37 pm
I suspect the new "Executive Director" is in charge of fish suppers but the council is economising on letters.