Council to consider sharing chief executive with neighbouring authority

Two Staffordshire councils could share one chief executive for 12 months following the departure of one authority’s managing director.

Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre in Beecroft Road Cannock.
Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre in Beecroft Road Cannock.

Stafford Borough and Cannock Chase councils have shared a number of “back office” services for several years.

Now Cannock Chase Council is considering formally approaching Stafford Borough Council to propose sharing their chief executive for an initial 12-month period as an interim measure.

Last week it was revealed that Cannock Chase Council’s former managing director, Tony McGovern, had resigned at the end of February. A Cannock Chase Council spokesman said he had left to pursue other job opportunities.

An extraordinary full council meeting has been called for Thursday so that members can consider future management options and agree interim arrangements.

Senior management changes at Cannock Chase Council a number of years ago led to the chief executive role being replaced by the managing director post. Under the current system the council’s managing director is head of paid service too.

Mr McGovern was also electoral registration officer and local returning officer at the time of his departure and so these roles will need to be re-assigned just weeks before Cannock Chase Council, Staffordshire County Council and police, fire and crime commissioner elections are due to take place

Required

It has been recommended that the deputy managing director is designated head of paid service and is appointed as interim managing director for the time being.

A report to Thursday’s council meeting said: “The council is required by statute to have both a head of paid service, an electoral registration officer, and a returning officer. Given the resignation of the managing director and the absence of a lead-in time to determining a replacement, it is necessary to put in place interim arrangements until such time that a permanent solution can be implemented.

“Bob Kean is currently denoted by the managing director to be his deputy and it is therefore proposed that he is designated interim managing director and head of paid service, and this position is reviewed at the end of June 2021, in advance of his intended retirement in mid-July.

“The appointment of the returning officer is of pressing priority with local elections taking place on 6 May. It is proposed that the head of governance and corporate services is appointed to this role for the local elections and until clarification is provided in relation to the permanent appointment of Head of Paid Service. The postholder has experience of managing elections having had responsibility for the service since 2011.”

The potential sharing of a chief executive with Stafford Borough Council could result in a financial saving, the report added. But the move would be subject to formal approval by Stafford Borough Council.

Councillor Patrick Farrington, leader of Stafford Borough Council, said: “If Cannock Chase District Council decide to approve the report then we would obviously consider any approach made to us regarding the chief executive position.

“Our priority is always to deliver the best for the residents and businesses of Stafford Borough and that would be paramount in any future discussions.”

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