Birmingham City Council's chief executive has called on central government to stop treating local authority officials "like children".
Instead, Mark Rogers wants to see a "level playing field" between local government and Whitehall.
His comments at the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) conference come at a time when he is leading negotiations with the Treasury over a multi-billion pound devolution deal for the West Midlands.
At the same time, he has been working with government commissioners on education and child protection services and, most importantly, the Government-appointed Independent Improvement Panel overseeing the implementation of last year's Kerslake report into the running of the council.
Birmingham City Council officials are also talking to the Department of Communities and Local Government about next year's budget cuts.
According to the Local Government Chronicle, Mr Rogers said: "I'm fed up of being treated like a child when the organisation I work for, the partners we engage with and the communities we serve are not children.
"They are really important ingredients in the localities we are in. It's important government understands that.
"It's important we enter into a robust conversation with government - that we should be talking on a level playing field about things that really matter to them and us in our communities and that together we will get a better understanding of policy and the delivery between us than we presently get when we are negotiating in a hierarchical relationship."
Mr Rogers, who was chief executive of Solihull Council before moving to Birmingham in 2014, knows all about talking to children as he started his working life in teaching and education.
He also talked of political "stirings" in Birmingham referring not, it seems, to the resignation this week of cabinet member James McKay and potential challenges to leader Sir Albert Bore but the impact the election of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party's move to the left might have on local councillors.
Mr Rogers said national politics was "moving to the left and to the right" in a way that had not been seen for quite a while.