Generally speaking, people in senior positions in any organisations do not like to hear bad news. People like Donald Trump make up their own news, others shoot the messenger, some act like the three wise monkeys.
Of course the majority of leaders in most organisations develop a sensible plan to address the bad news impact and mitigate any risks. The question here is whether or not the quest for "positivity" and "blue sky thinking" and "innovative solutions" in local government, means that the finance profession have taken on the role of modern day Jeremiahs?
Of course there are numerous examples of leaders and CEOs leading from the front both in terms of raising the financial situation with government and listening to detailed advice of finance professionals. But what about those who don't and write off such concerns as pessimism. It seems Northamptonshire provides a case study in how not to take on board the advice of finance professionals. It's fair to say that hasn't ended well for anyone.
Whilst the finance profession may be cautious and concerned about the proper control of public spending and future financial sustainability of their organisation (hardly a crime I would suggest), the statutory role of the s151 makes them so. They should be nurtured and supported, not ignored.
As Agatha Christie confidently predicted "Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that is no reason not to give it".
There was a time when council chief executives were almost all lawyers. Then finance directors started to get through to the top jobs, followed by a few service heads and then - with increasing concern about economic development - some councils went for wheeler-dealers who could negotiate investment for major regeneration projects. Have things swung too far away from chief executive roles being the preserve of lawyers and accountants