ABC rejects criticisms of chief exec’s appointment
Interim post-holder confirmed without external competition
Council bosses say the appointment of Tracey Kerly as full-time chief executive will bring an end to a period of uncertainty.
Ms Kerly had been working as the interim chief executive of Ashford Borough Council (ABC) since February last year, following the departure of John Bunnett, who took up a senior role with housing developer Brett.
Ms Kerly had been working alongside Paul Naylor, Richard Alderton, and Terry Mortimer, while a post as director of finance and economy remained vacant.
Mr Naylor will take on a fulltime role to oversee the Chilmington Green housing development, and the council has decided to recruit a new director.
There have been some concerns that the chief executive role has not been advertised outside of the Civic Centre offices in Tannery Lane.
One critic said the decision had been a shoo-in, and said the appointment of a new director Ashford council chief executive Tracey Kerly would cost council taxpayers a further £80,000 at a time when councils across the country have been having to cut jobs of lowpaid staff.
But ABC says it has followed the correct procedures to appoint a new chief executive, and it didn’t need to advertise the role.
An ABC spokesman said: “The council supports the appointment process of our new chief executive and we have followed the correct procedure completely.
“This permanent appointment will bring stability to the organisation following a period of uncertainty.
“The post was not externally advertised as an interim arrangement had been in place for more than 12 months.
“Therefore, an existing interim can be considered for a permanent post without the need to advertise this externally.
“Our appointments committee made the decision not to adver- tise the permanent role, and cabinet approved this decision last week.
“The reorganisation report was clear that the changes will create additional costs of nearly £80,000.
“However, subsequent reviews will provide savings that will cover these costs.
“All staff will receive a cost-ofliving rise to their basic salary.
“The management restructure report has been consulted on with all affected staff, the joint consultative committee and Unison, all of which have supported the plan.”
The final decision on the appointment and the restructure will be made by councillors at a full council meeting next Thursday.
‘The council supports the process, and we have followed the correct procedure completely’