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Seven City of York Council bosses face axe
SEVEN council bosses are facing the axe from the department in charge of York’s biggest transport and building projects.
City of York Council is set to shed the posts from its city and environmental services (CES) directorate to save more than £1 million over two years.
Officials say “radical change” is needed immediately to cut costs at the authority, which must save £20 million by 2014/15, but a union boss says she fears compulsory job losses.
The Labour cabinet this week announced plans to raise council tax by 1.9 per cent next year, increase parking charges, cut streetlighting and road-cleaning budgets and leave parks unlocked at night.
If the job changes are approved by cabinet next week, the number of assistant directors in CES will fall from three to two, and the number of “heads of service”, the next tier down, will be cut from 11 to five.
Assistant directors are among the authority’s most senior officers and are paid £68,413 a year.
The cuts overall would save £1.05 million by 2015, but unions are concerned the work left behind will put strain on other staff and fear further CES job losses.
The directorate has responsibility for developments including the community stadium scheme, the York Local Plan for York’s future development, the Access York transport project, bus services, air quality, road maintenance and rubbish collections.
The department must cut costs by £2.9 million over two years and there is “pressure to deliver the required savings earlier”, the cabinet will be told next week in a report by Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, and CES director Darren Richardson.
Their report says the directorate has already undergone three reviews in recent years and “radical change” is now needed. Talks have been taking place since November.
Council leader James Alexander said Government cuts were causing challenges for the council.
He said: “I recognise we need to do all we can to secure essential services. I would like to pay tribute to staff across the council who continue to maintain a high standard of work and commitment to our communities, despite ongoing financial challenges and uncertainty.”
The report said the job cuts were an “interim” measure to see the directorate through until the end of 2014/15, and the council wanted to minimise the impact on services and residents and avoid compulsory redundancies if possible.
Mr Richardson said staff were the council’s greatest asset and would be instrumental in delivering the council’s priorities. He said: “Greater investment in staff development at all levels and encouraging a less hierarchical, more innovative way of working will be vital.”
Heather McKenzie, Unison’s branch secretary and lead convenor at the council, said: “There is great concern about such a radical cut, and even with the council’s best attempts, it is hard to imagine how it can be done without compulsory redundancies, while there will be significant effects for staff further down.
“Shrinking the upper levels of the CES structure in this way is bound to have an impact on lower-graded employees, where we also fear a reduction in posts.
“We will continue to work with the council to make sure the roles which remain can carry out the work.”