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New leader Jim Currie ready to get on with council business

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 17, 2012

Conservative Jim Currie, who represents Feock & Kea

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It was with a gleam in his eye and a faint chuckle that Cornwall Council’s leader Jim Currie denied his new job was something of a poisoned chalice.

After winning the poll 49-46 against Independent Neil Burden, the new Conservative leader of Cornwall Council said it was all about the job in hand.

“I’m not worried,” he said. “We have a financial regime and as long as we get that right we will be alright. I intend to continue that successful formula and adjust it as circumstances change.”

Mr Currie had been elected to the top job with the implicit backing of non-party members who supported his stance against the council’s joint venture with a private sector firm. However, he said that his concerns were with the massive scale of the venture that had been pursued and that he might have been happy with a substantially smaller deal.

He said the bid – which would have seen Cornwall Council and a private firm form a partnership to run key services – was not dead in the water.

“Never say never,” he said. “It might be an option of last resort.”

But he added: “We are not galloping forward with it at any great haste.”

Mr Currie, who represents Feock and Kea, said he was “not worried” about the resignation of cabinet members Julian German, Graham Hicks, Steve Double and Chris Ridgers.

His first order of business in the top job was to appoint a new deputy, in the form of just-defeated leadership candidate Neil Burden.

Mr Burden said he was delighted with the new role.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 19 2012, 12:12AM

    i pray that a party predicated upon a genetic link to a ''supposed'' indigenous superiority never sees the light of day......otherwise the 2nd world war was for nothing.

    |   -2
  • Jonny2010  |  October 18 2012, 11:36PM

    I pray that one day we will have an excellent MK Councillor elected as Council Leader.

    |   -1
  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 17 2012, 11:48PM

    Glad to hear of a local success cknocker. Your input is valued. gonna inwardly digest that for now.

    |   -4
  • Cknocker  |  October 17 2012, 11:34PM

    H-Trevorrow, I think we have probably got some common ground there. I am not disputing staff are running and juggling too many balls. How many assistants are there employed doing work that there immediate line manager should be doing, while as you say they are sitting in unnecessary meetings? How many jobs are there fulfilling tasks that are not actually required? There are huge savings that can be made and while the unions need to grow up and accept that there needs to be change, there is a risk that the JV is going to hit those that are doing the work, not the "little emperors". I work at quite a senior level in a large business, mainly looking after the estates side, the business could be compared with elements of the council (Particularly PT&E and waste). The money the company is dealing with is huge compared with the council, there are great relationships with the unions and a great service is provided to our customers - and we do the vast amount of everything (Except large construction contracts) in house. Our computer systems are as sophisticated as the councils - if not more so and more critical, yet IT is in house, with a far smaller IT team than the council has - covering over half of England. We recently took over a larger similar company who had done exactly what you are proposing, the savings we are making are astronomical - we saved £50 million on IT in the first year, hundreds of millions have been saved in procurement and on alliance contracts that when analysed were working to the benefit of the contractor although no doubt there had been savings up for grabs in the early years - the cost of capital projects have been halved since taking them back in house. The council needs to operate the way that companies like ours do and simply outsourcing it, we will all be like lambs to the slaughter.

  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 17 2012, 11:31PM

    my concern, cknocker ,is the most precious services, the vulnerable, not some 50k a year lefty middle management ****** at county hall or some library manager putting thier career before the needs of a severly disabled kid.

    |   -6
  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 17 2012, 11:04PM

    cknocker, the foot soldiers at county hall are, in the main, good honest people giving thier job everything. The problems occur as you go through middle management where a culture of 'meetings' pervades...they have 'meetings' all day long scheduling 'meetings' where they decide which 'meetings' are priority 'meetings' . There is, undoubtedly, a mates=jobs culture. I cannot prove a joint venture would work but my gut tells me that a well constructed contract would do what is needed...ie provide a service in these peripheral areas and protect the properly vulnerable.

  • shagrats  |  October 17 2012, 8:20PM

    "Fixed no charge" Alec Robertson who is a personable man who had a completely flawed plan to try and save jobs and services

    |   1
  • Doitdreckley  |  October 17 2012, 8:13PM

    Nail on the head. The local Liberal Democrats, supported by ideological Tories, MK and some Independents have stuffed Alec Robertson who is a personable man who had a plan to try and save jobs and services. So where is the alternative to save them? All these councillors will have to explain the consequences of their actions but may be gambling that the crisis does not happen until a year or 18 months after next May's election when numbers of them may be out anyway.

    |   -1
  • Cknocker  |  October 17 2012, 7:17PM

    At full capacity doing what HTrevorrow? The first thing the council need to do is stop unnesecary spending - however I agree there will be job losses. The council needs a complete root and branch overall - unfortunately there was a missed opportunity four years ago - the council has been distracted by the side show of the incinerator for far too long.

    |   4
  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 17 2012, 6:32PM

    ****rats the staff at county hall are already working at full capacity, even hot desking. The only way to shave such a large sum of money, £170 MILLION, will be to cut jobs.

    |   -6