Acting chief is role set to continue

Nicola Bailey
Nicola Bailey

TEMPORARY arrangements to cover the role of chief executive at Hartlepool Borough Council look set to be extended again.

Nicola Bailey has been acting chief executive since August last year after Paul Walker retired after eight years at the helm.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet committee will meet again on Monday to discuss options for the long-term future of the post.

Civic chiefs are considering three options – to appoint a permanent chief executive, go for a model which sees responsibilities shared between directors or to share a chief executive.

The temporary arrangements were due to expire at the end of this month, but cabinet members are asked to agree to extend them again until the end of August or until a decision on the future for the post has been decided.

Arrangements with the child and adult services department to provide necessary cover in the absence of Mrs Bailey, who was the section’s director, are also expected to be extended.

A joint report by Chris Little, chief finance officer, and Peter Devlin, chief solicitor, said: “The chief executive post will remain vacant beyond June, 30, 2012, and it is proposed that the temporary arrangement previously agreed by council on October, 27, 2011, and extended by cabinet on March 19 continue until full consideration of the options available are completed and a permanent appointment or alternative implemented.”

The council’s general purposes committee is also meeting on Monday to discuss the three options.

Council papers said the terms and conditions of the additional payments will be the minimum and fixed for the duration of the arrangements.

No increments will be paid and the payments will also not be pensionable.

The temporary arrangements saved the council £76,848 last year and there is an ongoing monthly saving of about £10,000 while the arrangements are in place.

Mrs Bailey’s annual salary has risen from £130,000 to £158,000 per annum while she is acting chief executive.

That is about the same former chief executive Mr Walker was being paid before his controversial pay rise.

Mr Walker hit the national headlines last year after the council’s cabinet approved a backdated £10,795 pay hike, which took his salary to £168,000, following drawn-out discussions.

Mr Walker said that he always had long-term plans to retire around his 60th birthday.

The cabinet committee is due to meet at 9.30am in the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.