I thought this topic would raise fairly strong input from a variety of sources.
I’d agree, the lexical semantics and the situational realities are both relevant.
In a council where a committee is practical, such a means is often the best option to manage all council employees.
If that is taken as an accepted norm, it might also be an accepted norm that a council chair will or may be chair, a member or ex-officio member of any committee hence they are likely to have a contributory input to committee recommendations which would require council endorsement.
I think that might be an accepted set of circumstances without too much push back or controversy.
It’s interesting to read that you think a clerk must occasionally stand their ground and fight tooth and nail against their employer.
I’d take the view that confrontation, fighting and intransigence are far from acceptable attributes in an employee.
More appropriate perhaps would be for a clerk to present accurate, timely, succinct and professional recommendations for cllrs to consider. There is after all, absolutely no obligation upon a Cllr to accept and apply the advice provided by a clerk, only that it should be considered.
This principle extends all the way from PC through local authority and into Parliament. It is the elected member rather than the employed officer that represents the democratic process. Clerks, in what ever form, present advice but elected members execute decisions.
It is perfectly reasonable that a chair would have a good working relationship with an employee, and that should include setting out certain procedural matters required to meet the priorities of the corporate body.
Not a good idea to get too wrapped up in who is ‘in charge’ of who, since a sensible clerk would recognise that a sensible chair will influence a sensible committee to arrive at sensible decisions which will result in sensible direction being issued to the clerk.
And there we have it, chair providing direction to clerk it’s just the route that has to be taken to get there that needs ‘massaging.’