Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles ended firework week with a lob at the legal minefield that can lead to councils forking out bumper payoffs to chief executives they want to get rid of.
He said today he wanted to scrap slow and costly red tape that often means councils appointing an independent person, usually a Queen's Counsel, to review dismissal and disciplinary cases.
Councils often pay out big lump sums to avoid that and Mr Pickles, former Conservative Party chairman and great-grandson of one of the founders of the Independent Labour Party, aims to cut the red tape.
Local authorities estimate that the review process can cost between £100,000 and £250,000 in legal fees not counting independent investigation costs and salary for the suspended officer.
Under the changes, which are expected to come into force early next year, cases will have to go before a full council meeting with a full vote deciding the chief executive's fate.
Mr Pickles said: "A town hall chief executive costs a lot of money, but if they are simply not up to the job, councillors must be able to get rid of them quick-smart.
"It is ridiculous that councils feel forced to give bumper pay-offs to dismiss inadequate chief executives simply to avoid these unnecessary golden goodbye reviews from expensive lawyers.
"Scrapping this bizarre bureaucratic ritual will save taxpayers money and put the decision firmly back in democratically elected hands."
A local government association spokesman said: "Councils are subjected to the same employment laws as everyone else, which is why when they terminate senior staff contracts the payouts are comparable to those in central government, the NHS and the private sector."
"It is the government's own regulations which require that a senior staff member is protected in law as a 'statutory whistle-blower' who can only be dismissed by an independent body.
"This was designed by government specifically to make it harder for politicians and other staff members to cover up any wrongdoing."
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