One of Birmingham City Council’s best known officials has lost out in a bid to run a new local authority super-department.
Mirza Ahmad was beaten to the highly-paid position of council strategic director of corporate resources by colleague Paul Dransfield.
The decision is a bitter blow for Mr Ahmad, who heads the city’s legal and democratic services.
He is one of the country’s leading Asian lawyers and one of the most prominent Muslim figures in English local government.
He remains corporate director of governance for the time being, but the post is scheduled to disappear leaving a question mark over his future.
He is also the council’s Monitoring Officer, a statutory role that will continue.
Mr Ahmad is refusing to be downcast about the decision. He said: “All those who know me know that I am passionate about Birmingham and passionate about the legal profession. I believe the future looks bright.”
His current post will be abolished on November 1, but Mr Ahmad may enter into discussions about a possible alternative senior role at the council.
Part of Mr Dransfield’s new role is to finalise staff changes at the top of the council’s chief officer corps.
He is expected to talk to Mr Ahmad about his future.
Mr Dransfield, currently corporate director of resources, was selected by an interviewing panel of senior councillors and officials to take charge of the new department which brings together the local authority’s financial and legal services.
The appointment is part of a shake-up of senior positions at the council which will save £1.4 million a year.
At least 10 jobs will be axed in the corporate centre, to be replaced by four new super-posts.
Mr Ahmad joined the council 10 years ago from Bolton Council, where he was an assistant director of legal services.
He is a national expert on the implications of the Human Rights Act for local government, has presented national seminars on legal and managerial matters including Good Governance, Best Value and Business Excellence.
He is chairman of the Bar Association for Local Government and the Public Service and a member of the General Council of the Bar for England and Wales.
He was named Lawyer of the Month by the Black Lawyers Directory in 2006, recognised in the UK’s inaugural Muslim Power 100 and named Public Sector Lawyer of the Year 2009 by the Society of Asian Lawyers.