The leader of the Labour group on Shropshire Council today demanded answers over the departure of the authority's £180,000-a-year chief executive.
Kim Ryley left the authority this week after just two-and-a-half years in charge.
The 59-year-old will spend three months on secondment at Cheshire East Council. But he will not return to Shropshire when his contract ends in November.
In a statement released yesterday, Councillor Keith Barrow, leader of Shropshire Council, said Mr Ryley's move was 'allowing our neighbours to benefit from Kim's accomplished experience in local government'.
Councillor Barrow has been taking top level meetings in Mr Ryley's absence.
But Labour leader Alan Mosley today said the departure raised 'very serious questions' about how the council was being run by Councillor Barrow's 'failing administration'.
Councillor Barrow labelled the claims a 'cheap trick' and 'nonsense'.
Councillor Mosley said he was particularly concerned that Mr Ryley had left at the same time as the council was setting up a new company – IP&E – to run some of its services at a profit.
Councillor Mosley said: "We will be demanding a full inquiry, through the scrutiny process, into how this emergency has occurred
"It is now clear the council is in crisis in the midst of massive cuts, low staff morale, declining services and in the process of a potentially disastrous transfer of services to IP&E Ltd.
"The council is like a ship without a rudder and Keith Barrow must consider his position."
Liberal Democrats have also called for an inquiry.
Councillor Miles Kenny said the loss of Mr Ryley had 'serious implications'.
"It means we don't have a head of service at the moment.
"The timing has not been very good, particularly as we are about to set up this new company."
But Councillor Barrow dismissed Councillor Mosley's comments, saying they 'have no basis in fact and are utter nonsense'.
"This is a very cheap trick to play and I'm sure that Shropshire people will see through his utter nonsense."
Related article - 12-week stint in new job for council chief Kim Ryley
By political reporter Andrew Owen