Chew­ing over op­tions for the top job

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

IT’S PROB­A­BLY one of the top jobs in lo­cal gov­ern­ment but nearly three months since KCC chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Gil­roy an­nounced his de­par­ture, we are still nowhere near know­ing who might be re­plac­ing him. But Off The Record gath­ers the wheels are slowly turn­ing and that the rea­son for the de­lay is be­cause the rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion at County Hall has been chew­ing over other op­tions. Th­ese in­cluded not re­plac­ing Mr Gil­roy and split­ting the job be­tween two peo­ple. Both have now been ruled out and a re­place­ment is to be sought. But time is march­ing on: Mr Gil­roy is leav­ing in early May and any­one ap­pointed will prob­a­bly have to give at least three months’ no­tice.

WHICH nat­u­rally brings us to how much the suc­cess­ful can­di­date might be paid. The is­sue of pub­lic sec­tor pay con­tin­ues to prove con­tentious, as yet an­other sur­vey by the scourge of the pub­lic sec­tor, the Tax­pay­ers’ Al­liance, showed last week. In­ter­est­ingly, the sur­vey of high earn­ers re­vealed that 323 earned more than the Prime Min­is­ter, whose re­mu­ner­a­tion is about £194,000. The Con­ser­va­tives have warned that any pub­lic au­thor­ity that wants to pay a boss more than the PM will have to get the deal signed off by Ge­orge Os­borne, should the Con­ser­va­tives form the next gov­ern­ment. An­other rea­son for KCC to move swiftly, per­haps!

COUNTY Hall in trans­parency shock! It’s not of­ten we get to de­liver a plau­dit to any coun­cil for open­ness and ac­count­abil­ity but Off The Record feels that a word of praise should be given to KCC’s Au­dit and Gov­er­nance Trad­ing Ac­tiv­i­ties Sub Group (what do you mean, you’ve never heard of it?). It is a new com­mit­tee, with a brief to shine a light on to the au­thor­ity’s com­mer­cial en­ter­prises – or in its own words “to en­sure the trad­ing ac­tiv­i­ties of the coun­cil are run prop­erly, trans­par­ently and fairly”. Un­for­tu­nately, mem­bers at its most re­cent meet­ing were pre­sented with six re­ports in pri­vate but af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, its three­strong mem­ber­ship de­cided four should be made pub­lic as they did not war­rant their clas­si­fi­ca­tion as ex­empt. Hav­ing read two of them, we couldn’t agree more. They were even duller than most re­ports that make it to the pub­lic part of any coun­cil meet­ing. And that’s say­ing some­thing.

WE ARE not en­tirely sure what to make of some fig­ures we’ve re­ceived from KCC and Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil about how much it is cost­ing to clean (we use the word ad­vis­edly) the town’s shared space scheme. But no one can deny that both have pro­vided very pre­cise fig­ures. Weekly, £281.86 is spent on lit­ter pick­ing, with £433.76 on sweep­ing paths with a rather more mod­est £31.22 on road sweep­ing. That is £835.28 a week. We don’t know who is count­ing beans on our be­half, but it’s sort of re­as­sur­ing to know some­one is keep­ing a beady eye on costs. As they say, look af­ter the pen­nies and the pounds will look af­ter them­selves.

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