Labour politicians have launched an outspoken attack on Birmingham City Council chief executive Stephen Hughes, suggesting that he had “lost the confidence of the dressing room” and should consider resigning.
Councillors resorted to a football theme, claiming that the club chairman would be after his scalp if Mr Hughes was a Premier League manager.
The comments came at a scrutiny committee meeting as Mr Hughes was outlining radical plans to cut jobs and slash council spending by £330 million over the next four years.
Pointing out that a recent survey showed only 17 per cent of council staff had any confidence in the chief executive and his management team, Brandwood councillor Mike Leddy turned to Mr Hughes and said: “I have to ask whether you have lost the dressing room?
“It’s unbelievable so few people support what you are doing. Is it time to consider your position?”
Ian Ward, deputy leader of the opposition Labour group, said Tory council leader Mike Whitby should be asked whether he still backed Mr Hughes who, on a salary of about £220,000, is one of the country’s highest paid local government officials.
Mr Hughes said budget plans being drawn up for the next four years reflected the reality of huge Government spending cuts.
The council could no longer afford to deliver all services and it was inevitable that a large number of jobs would disappear.
Radical proposals being discussed by the city’s Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition include handing over management of sports and community centres to unpaid volunteers and farming out more social services provision to the private sector.
Mr Hughes admitted that getting the message across to 55,000 members of staff posed difficulties.
He added: “I have always recognised that communications in this organisation is probably the biggest challenge the chief executive faces. It is impossible for me to go and talk to each individual.
“I have to work harder at it, I accept that.”