He has been the leader of the council for 15 years. During that time the council’s has acquired a national profile and come to dominate the region. The first to embrace out sourcing. The first to agree a major contract to outsource all back office services. The leader has a reputation as a canny negotiator and a ruthless political manipulator. Which has not always endeared him to partner agencies. This was supposed to be the year he handed over to his ambitious deputy.
A health scare appeared to bring the transfer of power forward but there were members of the board and the party who felt this was the time for a new more inclusive style of leadership. Members were divided not everyone supported an automatic coronation, two maybe three alternative candidates had “ reluctantly “ been persuaded to allow themselves to be put forward. Things threatened to get very unpleasant, business partners and other agencies were picking up on the discord. The timing was bad with a big contract up for renewal and the budget process at a critical stage. It was agreed that in the short term the deputy had to act up in order to reassure partners that it was business as usual.
At this point the treasure asked for a one to one. The authority had serious financial problems that the leader has kept from the cabinet. A series of short term fixes plus some accountancy smoke and mirrors had covered up a massive budget hole. To compound the problems the outsourcing contracts which were to generate millions in efficiency saving were not. To make matters worse it was now clear that to end the contracts early would involve some very large penalty payments .
The deputy confronts the leader. He is unrepentant.
To be continued