AN interim manager who was paid more than £100,000 for 36 weeks’ work failed to come up with a recycling scheme suitable for North Devon, a meeting has heard.
The manager was brought in as part of a consultant package provided by Gordon Mackie Associates between November 16, 2011, and August 21, 2012.
The entire package cost the council £160,000, of which £108,128.11 was spent on the interim head of waste and recycling.
And at a full council meeting last Wednesday one councillor demanded to know just what had been achieved as a result.
Des Brailey, leader of the Conservative opposition group, said: “I find this ludicrous and I would like some details about what was achieved,” he added.
In response Rodney Cann, lead member for environment who is responsible for overseeing waste and recycling, said the advice given by the consultancy package would not have worked in North Devon.
After the meeting he added: “It was a mixed bag. They set the groundwork but the reality was their final proposals were not the kind of proposals we wanted to see in North Devon.
“Although if we hadn’t got them in we would not have been able to come to the conclusions we have come to now.”
But Mr Brailey said he still did not feel he’d had a proper answer.
After the meeting, he said: “What value did they get out of this? I went back the following morning and sent an email to Brian Greenslade asking what was achieved by this person being employed for £3,000 a week.
“I need to know what the details are and I want to know what these consultants were able to advise the council on.”
Mr Cann said the money was paid out for a package and he did not believe one person was receiving £3,000 a week. “The situation I inherited was unacceptable,” he added. “We needed some high level management and that is what I brought in. I then took the initiative because I realised we could not go on with an interim manager.”
The interim manager was replaced by Ricky McCormack, who is the joint head of recycling for both North Devon and Torridge.
BRIAN Greenslade, leader of North Devon Council, said it was not the case that more than £100,000 went to the interim manager.
He said: “We engaged a consultancy to give us strategic advice on how we could change and improve our waste and recycling service.
“Included in this consultancy arrangement the consultant included interim management of the service which assisted his knowledge base in order to propose change to the council.
“How much this individual was actually paid for the work done was a matter between him and the consultancy practice.
“There was already in the council's budget a provision for head of waste and recycling of £65,000.
“By using an interim head this money was saved so the net overall cost to the council of the consultancy arrangement was reduced by the existing provision of £65,000.”
Mr Greenslade said after taking over administration from the Conservatives the council found it had the most costly service in the county and set about taking the steps needed to bring this cost down.
“This is making progress and two recent decisions by the executive committee on fleet replacement and service changes will deliver several hundred thousand in savings,” he added.
“One is entitled to ask why the Conservatives are making this an issue now when they had four years to tackle the costly waste and recycling service and failed to do so.”