Dear Editor, So Sion Simon intends to save money if elected Mayor of Birmingham by combining the role as mayor with that of chief executive. (Post, October 13). Head cook and bottle washer so to speak. What a talented individual he seems to be.
I’ve looked up his credentials for confirmation. Perhaps he has run a Footsie 100 company with a turnover of £3.5 billion, (similar to the turnover of Birmingham)? But no clue there.
True, he spent a little time with Diageo, a prominent drinks business – in the Guinness management team no less, but is that sufficient experience to run a great city on his own?
And yes he has served in a junior ministerial capacity when a Member of Parliament, but doubtless surrounded by civil servants advising and doing. Again, is this enough to dispense with the services of a city chief executive?
We should not be fooled by this act of bravado.
History tells us that a Labour administration capable of cutting costs and thus generating value for the community is a rare thing indeed.
It’s unlikely that Sion Simon, if elected a Labour mayor, could run Birmingham virtually on his own in order “to save money,” as he so forthrightly claims.
For many of us such a prospect would make us think very carefully at referendum time if we ever wanted to risk placing so much authority in one individual.
The reality is any mayor would be elected as a result of the vision for Birmingham they place in front of the electorate.
If the referendum next May endorses the mayoral system it will surely be because the citizens of our city want to see a leader who can project our interests, not just on a national stage but a world one, while at the same time setting clear objectives for his/her executive team to deliver services to the highest quality.
No mayor could do this without knowing how to delegate the day-to-day running of the city, and this means either through a chief of staff or a chief executive charged with doing just that.
Unless of course you are Superman.