Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council's U-Turn on Pounds 175k Appointment; Job Search Not a One-Horse Race

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council's U-Turn on Pounds 175k Appointment; Job Search Not a One-Horse Race

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Jupp

AU-TURN was taken last night on the decision to ring-fence a pounds 175,000-a-year council job. Newcastle City Council took the decision to interview just one candidate for its chief executive position following the departure of previous post-holder Ian Stratford.

But there was political outcry at the move to make Barry Rowland a shoo-in candidate for the job, which was voted on in a private meeting of the Council's constitutional committee.

The city's Labour party withdrew from the process in protest, saying they would not support a one-horse-race, which was followed by the Liberal Democrat leader of the council Coun John Shipley calling for the decision to be reconsidered.

Now, at a fresh meeting of the constitutional committee, it has been ruled the post will be opened-up to external candidates and advertised in local and national media.

Mr Rowland, who has been acting chief executive since November, will have to apply for the job and will not be guaranteed an interview.

A council spokesman said: "At a meeting of the council's constitutional committee, it was agreed to advertise the post of chief executive in a national newspaper and two local government publications along with the council's website. This will be a competitive process with all candidates considered on their merits.

"This decision by the constitutional committee is now being acted upon and a meeting of the appointments panel will be held shortly to progress the appointments process. The acting chief executive is aware of this revised decision of constitutional committee and is happy that a political consensus has now been achieved on the appointments process.

"Following open advertisement, the selection process will be carried out by a panel of eight councillors - five Liberal Democrat and three Labour - to reflect the political make-up of the council.

The committee agreed not to employ search consultants which will save the local authority pounds 30,000.

It is anticipated that a chief executive will be in post by the end of the year.'' News of Mr Stratford's early retirement shocked the civic centre when it broke in November. …

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