A plan to cut five director jobs from City of York Council – and replace them with three new roles – has sparked a row.
A new council report says that replacing five jobs with three will save £259,000 ahead of the start of the budget next week.
However, this doesn’t take into account one-off redundancy payments that opposition councillors say will dilute the savings made.
Cllr Chris Steward, Conservative group leader, said: “This looks like yet another exercise from the council in trying to be seen to save money rather than doing so.
“There seems to be a management reshuffle every couple of years and a claimed future saving, whilst costs like redundancy and early pensions get hidden away.
“The management then over time grows back bigger, but just more disjointed than ever given roles are continually changing.”
The reshuffle of posts includes the deletion of the director of customer and communities; the corporate director of place; the director of economy, regeneration and housing; the director of environment, transport and planning; and the chief finance officer.
These would be replaced with the director of transport, environment and development; director of housing and community services; and the director of finance.
The new posts will be paid between £96,000 and £106,000, subject to a consultation.
‘Another broken promise’
Cllr Nigel Ayre, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “Any savings with the deletion of posts are likely to be eaten up by redundancy payments over the next two years and we would encourage the Labour administration to be open and transparent with residents about this.”
Cllr Ayre also criticised council leader Cllr Claire Douglas for not bringing back the chief executive role, something she said the city needed before the local elections, despite himself not supporting its return.
“We are also surprised to see that Cllr Douglas isn’t keeping her pre-election commitment to reinstating the chief executive role,” he said.
“This is yet another broken promise in a long line of failed manifesto commitments by the York Labour Party.”
Although Coun Douglas had said it was something she supported, it was not one of its six pledges.
A City of York Council spokesperson said: “Proposals for a senior management restructure have been published which are now subject to consultation.
“It would be inappropriate to comment on individual council employees.”
The council is facing an £11.1m forecasted overspend, which chief finance officer Debbie Mitchell said was due to consistent overspending funded by reserves which have now been exhausted.
On 25 January, the executive will present a budget for the years 2024/25 to be signed off.
It is expected to be filled with cuts to services in order to reduce its forecasted overspend.