Acting chief executive’s wage is revealed

Nicola Bailey
Nicola Bailey

SALARY details of how much Hartlepool Borough Council’s new acting chief executive is to be paid have been released.

Subject to final approval from full council tonight, the current director of child and adult services Nicola Bailey, 45, is set to take over the reins as acting chief executive and head of paid service.

If it is approved by councillors, her annual salary will go from £130,000 to £158,000 per annum while she is acting chief executive.

That is about the same amount outgoing chief executive Paul Walker was being paid before his controversial £11,000 pay rise.

Civic chiefs say the temporary arrangement – which will save the council than £70,000 this year – will give the local authority time to find an “efficient and cost-effective” long-term solution.

No decision has yet been taken over how Mrs Bailey will be replaced as director of child and adult services.

A current assistant director could step up or her responsibilities could be shared out among the assistant directors.

Council chiefs say the cost of paying other staff to cover higher level work during the temporary set-up has been factored into the £70,000 saving.

Mayor Stuart Drummond had previously said that Mr Walker’s retirement would free up almost £100,000 for the rest of this year.

That figure relates to the wages that Mr Walker would have received had he stayed in post until next March.

Mayor Drummond said: “Paul Walker’s retirement is a significant challenge to the council. But it has given us a real opportunity to find an alternative and potentially much less costly solution for the executive leadership of the council.

“Subject to its approval by full council tonight, Nicola Bailey’s appointment as acting chief executive will save the council over £70,000.

“In simple terms, this being the difference between the saving from the chief executive vacancy and the cost of paying other staff to cover higher level work in the light of Nicola’s proposed appointment.

“This temporary arrangement will allow the council sufficient time to carefully consider the potential restructuring and future leadership of the council’s highest management levels and to find a long-term solution which is both efficient, cost effective and in the best interest of the town.

“In the meantime, the acting chief executive arrangement will enable the business of the council to continue smoothly and as normal.”

Mrs Bailey has been recommended for the role by the council’s appointments panel.

The mum-of-four has worked for Hartlepool Borough Council since 2006.

Yesterday marked the final day at work for Mr Walker, who has retired after eight years at the helm.

He hit the national headlines earlier this 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, 59, said that he always had long-term plans to retire around his 60th birthday.

The full council is due to meet tonight at 7pm in the council chamber.