PROPOSALS to employ Moray Council’s top paid officers on fixed-term contracts have been based on "right-wing political ideology", according to one councillor.
Mike Shand, SNP member for Elgin North, ripped into a motion put forward by Conservative councillor Douglas Ross to place the chief executive and the four corporate directors on contracts for a limited number of years.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the full council, Councillor Shand said he was not convinced that Councillor Ross and Councillor Chris Tuke, who seconded the move, had thought through the implications.
"The very idea behind this motion is that you get commitment to work by putting the fear of God into them – it’s nonsense," he said.
"It doesn’t show that people have the professionalism to do a good job and personal satisfaction in a job well done."
Councillor Shand added that the local authority had difficulty recruiting higher-level managers, and the introduction of a fixed-term contract would make finding the right candidate almost impossible.
He added: "This is a piece of right-wing political ideology that is not practical at all. People will have difficulty getting mortgages or loans to buy the family car."
Councillor Shand’s feelings were echoed by others in the chamber, including members of the administration group.
Councillor Ross hit back, saying that those on the political left were on the road to complacency.
Fiona Murdoch, councillor for Speyside Glenlivet, put forward an amendment to stick with the status quo, which included recently revised conditions agreed by the council’s policy and resources committee. Her amendment was backed by 23 votes to two for the motion.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Ross said he was disappointed that there was not more support for his proposal.
"We are currently looking to employ a new chief executive who will receive a salary of more than £100,000, and I think it is right that they should perform to the highest standard for the people of Moray; if they don’t, their contract is not renewed," he said.
"We also have four corporate director posts which have a salary of more than £85,000, so in total my motion would have affected just five posts, which currently receive almost £450,000 a year in salaries."
He added that councils across Scotland had people "entrenched" in highly-paid jobs for decades, and the issue had been raised with him by many members of the public.