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Leicester mayor faces allegations from ousted chief executive

Leicester mayor faces allegations from ousted chief executive

🕔02.Jul 2011

This could be an indication of what’s to come in cities like Birmingham: Leicester’s elected mayor Sir Peter Soulsby is embroiled in a dispute with his council chief executive.

Mayor Soulsby announced that the role of chief executive Sheila Lock would be abolished shortly after he was elected in May. According to the Leicester Mercury today, Ms Lock has put in a formal complaint that she has been unfairly treated by the Mayor.

The Mercury reports:

The criticisms included a complaint about the announcement of her proposed redundancy during a press conference in May.

Ms Lock said the announcement generated publicity about how much would be saved if her post was abolished – something from which other highly-paid staff were shielded.

In relation to those claims, she wrote: “I know of no other circumstances where an individual is singled out in this way.”

Ms Lock suggested that Sir Peter’s comments in the media about overhauling senior management at the council “predetermined” the outcome of a consultation on the issue before it had started.

The Mayor has of course rejected the complaints, but Ms Lock’s predicament does highlight a challenge for him and the future mayors of other cities. How do you flex your political muscle to exercise the enhanced authority that supposedly comes with the post of elected mayor without becoming embroiled in a series of HR disputes with the council officers you move out of the way to make room for your own team?


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