An angry outburst directed at a member of the district council’s executive punctuated a debate about moving call centre services to Charnwood.
The executive, effectively the Harborough District Council cabinet, voted unanimously to recommend outsourcing services to the Loughborough-based authority in a bid to save money over four years. It would result in seven-and-a-half posts being made redundant.
During the discussions, opposition Lib Dem councillor Roger Dunton was allowed to address the Tory-run executive, but he cut his speech short after he felt he was being rudely ignored by Cllr Blake Pain.
Cllr Dunton said: “I started here when I had hair, many years ago. I have seen a deterioration of what we, as a district council, manage and very few have been to our advantage.”
But he then stopped in mid-flow, saying: “I will stop now because you’re [Cllr Pain] obviously not listening.”
Cllr Pain, who was chairing the meeting, explained he had been listening but was looking for a document with which to respond to the points Cllr Dunton was making.
Before the spat, Cllr Phil Knowles, leader of the Lib Dem group, questioned why the council was outsourcing its services.
He said: “If Harborough District Council were a reservoir, we seem to be constantly running out and nothing is coming in. Very shortly, the reservoir is going to be run dry.”
Cllr Knowles added: “Why are we haemorrhaging staff and losing staff out the door? Is it best for the people we represent?”
Responding, the council’s chief executive Anna Graves said: “I am concerned about the terminology. It is not about staff numbers, it is about service delivery. It is about delivering excellent service for the community.”
The new call centre arrangements, which will still need to be approved by the Tory-led full council, could be up and running within six months.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Paul Dann, portfolio holder for corporate services, said: “I think it is the way forward and I look forward to a good relationship with Charnwood Borough Council.”