Agenda item

Chief Officer Appointments (Agenda Item 12)

Report of the Chief Executive.


The Interim Chief Executive presented the report and the Chairman requested that all other Chief Officers leave the room.


The background to the report was explained.  Following the resignation of Terry Huggins, the Interim Chief Executive had been appointed for an initial three month period, or as appropriate, while the possibility of extending shared services with another authority was explored.  Luton Borough Council had now served notice for the contractual arrangements to expire on 9 October 2013.


The fact that the Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) would be leaving at about the same time was coincidental.  The post of Chief Executive at the Police and Crime Commission (PCC) had become vacant and Mark Stokes had been offered that job and he was expected to resign shortly.


The recruitment of a new Chief Executive would take up to six months and so it was proposed to recruit another interim with effect from 9 October 2013.  Rather than recruit an interim DCE it was proposed to disaggregate his responsibilities to the strong Senior Management team as it would give them the opportunity to manage a broader area.


Mark Stokes was currently the Returning Officer (RO).  Maxine O’Mahony was currently RO at South Holland and it was proposed to appoint her in Mark’s place.  Another officer would be appointed RO for South Holland.


Two amendments to the recommendations were proposed: at (g) to add the words ‘any additional’ costs, as the budget was already in place; and at (h) to appoint Maxine O’Mahony from 21 October 2013, rather than with immediate effect, as that was when Mark Stokes would take up his PCC role.


The Leader of the Labour Group asked whether the RO appointment should be interim or permanent.  The Interim Chief Executive advised that as an RO was required and as the appointment was in the gift of the Council it could be changed in due course if required.


Councillor Cowen thanked the Interim Chief Executive for putting a complex recommendation into easy to understand format and expressed gratitude for his involvement in the Council’s affairs.


The Leader of the Labour Group was concerned that Members were being rushed into making decisions and had not been kept informed about progress with shared services.  They had suffered the loss of a Chief Executive and Interim Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive along with other senior members of staff.  That loss was sorely felt and he proposed that an additional bullet point should be added to the recommendation to undertake a review of staff turnover over the past three years to see what lessons could be learned. 


The Leader of the Council said that he was proud of the Council’s reorganisation.  Some staff had been lost to better jobs but it was better for staff to come to the Council, grow and move on to better things than to come to the Council to retire.  When staff did move on it gave the Council a great network of contacts and a good working relationship with other organisations.


Shared Services had put a strain on staff and Members but it would have been worse to do nothing and to have had to shrink the Council and lose staff in that way. 


The Leader of the Labour Group’s proposal was seconded by Councillor Canham.  She said that any organisation should review what they were doing.


Councillor Kybird noted that it was a delegated function of the Audit Committee to carry out an annual audit review.


The additional recommendation was not supported by Members.


Subject to the agreed amendments it was:




a)     Note that Luton Borough Council has served notice on the current contract in place regarding the interim arrangements for Mr Trevor Holden to act as Interim Chief Executive of both Breckland Council and South Holland District Council and that the notice period will expire on 9 October 2013.

b)      Agree the immediate recruitment of a permanent Chief Executive (to also act as Head of Paid Service), in a joint appointment with South Holland District Council.

c)      Agree the recruitment of an Interim Chief Executive in a joint appointment with South Holland District Council until such time as a permanent appointment is approved by Council.

d)      Agree that the costs of recruitment for the Chief Executive be met from the Organisations Development reserve and shared on a 50/50 basis with South Holland District Council.

e)      Agree that the post of Deputy Chief Executive / Director of Place and Governance is not recruited to at this time.

f)        Agree that the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leaders is authorised to agree any temporary changes to arrangements within existing senior management team.

g)      Any additional costs associated with the appointment of an Interim Chief Executive being met from the Organisations Development reserve and shared on a 50/50 basis with South Holland District Council.

h)      Appoint Maxine O’Mahony as the Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer for Breckland with effect from 21 October 2013.


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