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JOBS' WORTH?

27-05-2010

Cllr Tim Huxtable

Is this a sign of things to come at cost cutting Birmingham Council? New Tory Cabinet member Tim Huxtable will have to grapple with three top jobs instead of just one.

Bournville councillor Huxtable has been handed the dual role of Transportation and Regeneration – both mammoth briefs in their own right, and until recently the responsibility of Len “Gridlock” Gregory and Neville Summerfield respectively. He's also the Council's lead member on the Passenger Transport Authority.

Does Council leader Mike Whitby reckon the new man has superhuman qualities? Not quite.

He’s just been backed into a corner by the need to give his old adversary Randal Brew a paid position.

Brew challenged Whitby for the top job last year, but his threat has now been neutralised after he was gifted the newly created Finance portfolio – a job previously handled behind the scenes by Gregory, who moves aside to become Lord Mayor.

That leaves Summerfield as the fall guy, with the hard-working Huxtable given the job of implementing the Big City Plan, overseeing the redevelopment of Eastside, making sure the traffic flows smoothly and keeping the bins emptied (Street Services falls into his monster brief too). And yes, helping to run the PTA too.

So why not divvy up such a humungous workload and share the goodies? Simple. The Local Government Act prohibits the number of paid Cabinet positions to just 10, so Huxtable will have to become the Victoria Square equivalent of Superman.

Council workers, facing a massive spending squeeze must be hoping the idea of doing three jobs for the price of one doesn’t catch on.

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