ACCORDING TO a well-respected town hall source the chief executive of Blackpool Council, Steve Weaver, has packed his trunk and is set to say goodbye to the circus after he had the offer of his resignation accepted by new council leader Simon Blackburn.
There is not expected to be any kind of severance package.
The former town planner, who spent 28 years at Blackburn with Darwen council, was appointed as chief executive under Labour and has served since April 2002. Recent figures state that he was being paid a package totalling £169,000 per year.
One has to credit Weaver and his team for securing large quantities of cash to be spent on regeneration, however one has to also question the spending of this money. We must also question why some council departments have been allowed to continually overspend their budget.
The lack of foresight that resulted in many town hall jobs having to be lost at once also demonstrates a lack of touch with reality; we all knew the cuts were coming, but seemingly Blackpool Council did not. Former council leader Peter Callow was blamed, but really the failure to assess staff levels before then suggests naivety on the part of senior council box-tickers.
Auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers were called in to evaluate savings in one council department, and for a fee of £60,000, they were able to identify savings of £1m per year. This suggests that the council is not running efficiently at all and Steve Weaver must harbour some of the blame for this.
There will now be a vacuum at the top of the town hall. If Simon Blackburn wanted to do the right thing, he would share a chief executive with somewhere else. He would also cut the salary of this job, and use that saving to prop up the libraries that faced cuts and run a library awareness campaign to encourage their use.
Any left over cash can contribute to the Illuminations which would rectify the myth that he wants to cut them.
All in all, another good day for the town.