@Dr Herbie: Why? What would that independant person add to the conversation?
You guys seem to forget that your manager's success is dependent on your success as individuals and as a team.
I've seen plenty of middle management get replaced because of the lack of performance by the team. They didnt fire anybody from the team, they can't afford to, they are the ones adding the value.
There are always jobs for those who can create value, so your manager needs you, not the other way around.