A UNION representing town hall workers has lodged an official dispute over the way Torbay Council is handling its budget.
The GMB union, which represents 350 council staff and teachers, claims it is being sidelined at a time when jobs are at risk. But the council insists it has consulted the unions through the regional body.
Paul Raybould, GMB secretary in Torbay, claimed there had been no consultation with the trade unions before the draft budget was made public.
He said: "We are concerned that due to the mayoral position Gordon Oliver sidelines talking to trade unions as he is an elected politician and a dispute cannot be lodged with him.
"This is why it has had to be bizarrely lodged with Steve Parrock as chief executive who we have no quarrel with.
"To my knowledge this type of dispute has never been lodged or tried before to force a change to help prevent the consultation process being seen by many to be a 'done deal'."
The union has suggested a meeting is convened as soon as possible to address the 'anomaly of one-man decision making via only one political party'.
In his response, Mr Parrock said, as agreed with the regional GMB office, all of the paperwork has been sent to the regional officer. "This applies to all proposed consultation within both Torbay Council and the TDA (Torbay Development Agency) and has been ongoing for a number of months as needed," he said.
He said they had consulted all trade unions, including the GMB, on proposed redundancies before any more wider communication with staff and also other external organisations.
He said they emailed and sent the website link to all the budget papers with the offer of a meeting to the regional GMB to discuss fully the budget proposals, as with all trade unions.
"Torbay Council has, and continues, to enter into meaningful consultation with the agreed regional officer for GMB, which we will continue to do. I do not consider the GMB has the right to formally invoke Torbay Council's grievance procedure."