Conservative councillors have been accused of throwing their council administration colleagues “under the bus” amid a falling-out over job adverts.
The Tories on the local authority’s ruling group have threatened to throw the chambers into chaos by quitting the coalition.
They disagreed with their independent colleagues after recruitment ads for department director positions, both commanding salaries of more than £90,000, were posted online.
The Conservative members argued that the recruitment drive should have been delayed until an external review of the management structure determined whether the number of directors can be cut from three to two.
Planning committee chairman, Marc Macrae, said: “I think we are reaching the point where we can’t continue in the administration if we disagreeing about something as fundamental as this.”
Yesterday, with the fate of the administration remaining in the balance, Moray Council’s SNP opposition group called on their Tory rivals to “get their act together or step aside”.
Co-leader Graham Leadbitter claimed that senior staff were growing increasingly concerned at the ruling group’s “lack of direction”.
He said: “There is massive concern in the council’s senior management about the lack of strategy and direction from the administration.
“This is an incredibly serious situation, at a time when decisions need to be taken.
“Council officers are being left firefighting on multiple fronts as different administration councillors pull in entirely different directions.”
His co-leader, Shona Morrison, argued that getting external consultants to review management positions would cost about £1,000 per day at a time when the authority is in dire financial straits.
She said: “This constant uncertainty is not making Moray Council an attractive employer when we are trying to bring in teachers and other key staff into the area.
“The most immediate problem in Moray Council is the abject failure of the Tories to play a constructive part in administration.
“It looks like they are throwing their independent colleagues under the bus for their own political ends rather than delivering for Moray.”
Both Nationalist councillors also slammed the administration for failing to put a corporate plan in place.
The coalition of eight Conservative and five independent councillors has already been rocked with two resignations since it was created little more than a year ago.
Leader of the council’s Conservative group, Tim Eagle, last night accused his SNP detractors of “sniping from opposition without having to face the problems their own government has created”.
Mr Eagle argued that the review of senior management which he is calling for is something which his Nationalist counterparts have backed in the past.
He said the move is one which has been made all the more necessary because of the council’s financial crisis, with the need to save up to £14million over the next two years.
Mr Eagle added: “We have started to work through short and medium term financial options and they are deeply troubling.
“What we want is to think about long term transformational change, but when we mention this we seem to be hit by a wall of hostility.
“We felt it very strange that there was a lot of discussion about moving to a two director model in Moray, whilst increasing capacity at other management levels in the short term, yet that quickly became an executive decision to recruit two very expensive posts.
“We want good strategic leadership but we also need good political leadership and our call was to make absolutely sure that this was the best and most appropriate structure given the current financial climate and need.”
Mr Eagle blasted the Nationalist group for “attacking the administration at every turn” while failing to mount a successful bid to assume control of the authority.
He said: “They have never taken seriously the depths of the financial disaster that we face because of SNP austerity to local governments and because of the SNP council tax freeze.
“They could have made more effort to form an administration last year, They did not. What they want to do is snipe from opposition without having to face the problems their own government has created.”