Chief executive talks

SENIOR councillors are being asked to extend temporary arrangements to cover the role of chief executive at Hartlepool Borough Council.

Nicola Bailey took over the reins as acting chief executive and head of paid service at the local authority in August last year after Paul Walker retired after eight years at the helm.

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

But the temporary arrangements are due to expire at the end of this month.

Councillors on the cabinet committee, which is chaired by Mayor Stuart Drummond, will meet on Monday to discuss extending the current arrangements until after the all-out elections in May.

A report by Joanne Machers, chief customer and workforce services officer, said: “The chief executive post will remain vacant beyond March 31.

“It is proposed that the temporary arrangement, previously agreed by council on October 27, 2011, continue until full consideration of the options available can be given after council elections in May and a permanent appointment or alternative implemented.”

Council papers added that in relation to the terms and conditions of the additional payments, they will be the minimum legal payments, and will be fixed for the duration of the arrangements.

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

As previously reported, the temporary arrangements saved the council £76,848 this year.

If councillors agree to extend the temporary arrangements then there will be a monthly saving of about £10,000 from April.

Councillors are asked to extend the current arrangements and to approve Mayor Drummond “instigating discussions” with other councillors to decide the best way forward.

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 on Monday, March 19, at 9.15am at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.