ABC re­jects crit­i­cisms of chief exec’s ap­point­ment

In­terim post-holder con­firmed with­out ex­ter­nal com­pe­ti­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View - By Ai­dan Bar­low

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’

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