Agenda item

Appointment of Interim Chief Executive (Agenda Item 12)

Report of the Assistant Director for Democratic Services.

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive presented the report.  The current Chief Executive would be leaving the Authority on 31 January 2013.  Various options had been considered and the recommendation to appoint Trevor Holden, currently Chief Executive of Luton Borough Council, as a joint Interim Chief Executive of the three authorities was considered to be the best solution.

 

Mr Jermy expressed his appreciation to the out-going Chief Executive on behalf of the Labour Group.  He thanked him for his support and noted that many residents had been impressed by Mr Huggins at the public meetings he had attended.

 

With regard to the proposal he felt that Members were under pressure as the position would become vacant on 31 January 2013, giving them no real choice.  He was also concerned about the wording of the recommendation which seemed very open-ended.  If the appointment was extended beyond three months he asked at what point it would be referred back to Council.

 

The Leader of the Council assured him that Members did have a choice, but that he and the two other Leaders considered that given the timescales it would be best to appoint an Interim Chief Executive.  Mr Holden already knew the District well and could ‘hit the ground running’.   It was also an opportunity to push the boundaries by appointing someone to manage three authorities.  Luton was a Labour controlled authority so it would show that cross-working was possible and that shared management was not based on political parameters.

 

He agreed with the concern about the recommendation which was not intended to be open-ended.

 

Mr Jermy responded by saying that he was happy to trust the judgement of the Leaders and to support the appointment.

 

For the benefit of those Members that did not know him, the Leader of the Council introduced Mr Holden and invited him to explain his background.

 

Mr Holden said that he came from Norfolk and had grown up in the County and attended Wymondham High School.  After a career in the RAF he had joined local government, which he said was the closest to an active war zone he had come!   He had had the privilege of working with the Council for two years (prior to Mr Huggins) and was very excited about the opportunity to return.  His appointment did not mean he would be doing three jobs, it meant he would be doing one job in three locations.  He was interested in taking the appointment as there would be professional kudos from being Chief Executive to three authorities in three separate counties.  It was a huge risk and he would work hard to ensure it did not go wrong.  He looked forward to coming back if the proposal was approved.

 

A suggested amendment to the wording of the recommendation was agreed.

 

RESOLVED to approve the appointment of Trevor Holden as Interim Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service in a joint arrangement between South Holland District Council, Breckland Council and Luton Borough Council, for an initial period of three months, renewable by agreement between the parties, until such time as an alternative was agreed.

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