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Brent Council rocked by power struggle between leader and chief executive

PUBLISHED: 13:05 06 September 2012 | UPDATED: 16:41 07 September 2012

Cllr Muhammed Butt, left, and Gareth Daniel, right, are on the verge of refusing to work with each other

Cllr Muhammed Butt, left, and Gareth Daniel, right, are on the verge of refusing to work with each other

Archant

Cllr Muhammed Butt and Gareth Daniel on the verge of refusing to work with each other

EXCLUSIVE

Brent Council has been rocked by a power struggle between the newly elected leader and its long-standing chief executive.

Relations between Cllr Muhammed Butt and Gareth Daniel have sunk to an all time low with both men on the verge of refusing to work with each other.

The fallout has caused further ructions after a senior Labour councillor tried to put forward a motion backing Mr Daniel and other senior managers in the council rather than his leader at a political party meeting on Monday.

The motion – which read “Brent Labour group has complete confidence in the chief executive and other members of the senior management team” – failed.

However, during the meeting, Cllr Butt, who ousted Cllr Ann John from the role in May this year, made a speech in which he said: “The relationship of mutual trust and respect that needs to exist between every leader and chief executive has deteriorated.”

In a series of emails between Cllr Butt and Mr Daniel leaked to the Times the two clash over the contents of a report commissioned by the council leader.

In one email Mr Daniel claims the tone and language of Cllr Butt’s correspondence is ‘totally unacceptable’ and he would ‘never dream of writing to any member or to a colleague or staff member in the vitriolic and accusatory tone’.

In Cllr Butt’s response he said he has been ‘highly accommodating’ despite ‘difficulties’ in their relationship.

He adds: “I had hoped to reach a point where we could work together…however it is clear from the tone and aggressive nature of your email that this may not be possible.”

A letter of support has been sent to Mr Daniel which is signed by six out of the eight senior managers in the borough.

Mr Daniel, who earns £203,342 a year, has held his role for 14 years making him one of the longest-serving chief executives in the country.

Cllr Butt entered the world of politics in 2006 after winning his Tokyngton seat.

He has an allowance of £43,196 as the leader of the council.

A source told the Times that the breakdown between the two is so serious that one of them will have to go.

They said: “How can anything get done if they refuse to speak to each other?

“One of them will have to go and in this sort of situations it will usually be the chief executive.”

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