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Clare County Council CEO Pat Dowling. Photograph by John Kelly.

Too many chiefs in the council?

CHANGES in the organisational structure of Clare County Council, including the creation of five directorates, have led to “too many chiefs and not enough Indians”.

Following the recent appointment of new chief executive Pat Dowling to Clare County Council, a “series of improvements to the organisational structure of Clare County Council” have been announced. “Five distinct directorates, each being led by a director of service/head of finance, will be created,” the council stated.
Councillor Gerry Flynn has questioned if the right moves are being made.

Councillor Gerry Flynn has questioned if its a case of too many chiefs in Clare County Council following the creation of five new directorates.
Councillor Gerry Flynn has questioned if its a case of too many chiefs in Clare County Council following the creation of five new directorates.

“The new CEO is after coming into his job in Clare County Council and already has had success in increasing the property tax for homeowners by 15%, which is going to bring in another €1.5 million into the coffers of Clare County Council. He more or less outlined the benefits of increasing the property tax and that’s what they [the councillors] did,” Councillor Flynn said.

“On the other hand, I’m hopeful that the changes will have the desired effect. He’s of the opinion that in order for the council to deliver to the public a service that is fit for purpose, he has to have more senior people at the helm. From that point of view, his appointment of people is going to put a little bit more pressure on finances in the council. One of those positions came from outside anyway.

“The CEO is going to have to find in the budget increased resources to pay for those positions. That’s at a time when I feel the public are still struggling with the economic downturn.”
He said he would like to have seen available monies spent at a lower level.

“Personally, I would like to have seen additional funding spent on the front-line and general operatives. That’d be my view; too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

“We have to strike a balance. The CEO is new to County Clare and this is the brand of leadership he is bringing. There was a feeling that the direction that the council and services were going in wasn’t properly led or maybe there wasn’t enough of an oversight. Something I’ve questioned a lot is oversight and value for money. The question the public will ask is if it is value for money to appoint people to big jobs when people are still suffering from the economic collapse and an additional 15% on their homes. Also, at a time when we have a housing crisis,” he said.

Interim CEO, Ger Dollard described the benefit of the Fleadh to Clare as 'overwhelmingly positive'.
Interim CEO, Ger Dollard described the benefit of the Fleadh to Clare as ‘overwhelmingly positive’.
Anne Haugh is the director of service for the Killaloe Municipal District. Photograph by John Kelly.
Anne Haugh is the director of service for the Killaloe Municipal District. Photograph by John Kelly.

The council changes will see Ger Dollard become director of economic development (employment, tourism, planning); Anne Haugh becomes director of physical development (roads, water, environment, fire and major emergency management); Leonard Cleary is to be the acting director of rural development (town and village enhancement, community, information and communications technology); Liam Conneally is to take on the role of director of social development (housing, estate management, culture, sport), while Niall Barrett becomes director of finance and support services (finance, corporate, human resources).

In addition, Mr Dollard has been appointed as deputy chief executive and has area responsibility for the Ennis Municipal District. Ms Haugh will have responsibility for the Killaloe Municipal District, Leonard Cleary for the West Clare Municipal District and Liam Conneally for the Shannon Municipal District.

The changes are to come into effect from October 17.

Owen Ryan

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