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By political correspondent Mithran Samuel ...
By political correspondent Mithran Samuel

The selection process to fill the chief executive vacancy at Bradford City MDC has imploded, after at least two of the three remaining short-listed candidates decided to pull out of the race.

Interviews scheduled for this month were postponed after three of a six-strong shortlist dropped out (LGC, 5 September).

Of the remaining three, one who has now withdrawn is Southend-on-Sea BC chief executive George Krawiec.

Mr Krawiec is understood to be unhappy with the council's decision to suspend the process after the first round of withdrawals.

A second of the three said: 'I won't be renewing my interest.'

It is not known whether the final candidate, believed to be a senior local government figure, will remain in the race.

The three were informed about this month's postponement less than a week before the scheduled interviews, and had prepared detailed presentations.

One said interviews had originally been scheduled for July, and postponed because leader Margaret Eaton (Con) was ill. The council denied this, saying candidates' busy schedules were behind the delay.

Bradford refused to comment on the withdrawals. However, it has ditched its original plan to bump up the withered

short-list to gain a sufficient field to choose from.

Last week, it hired Veredus Recruitment to conduct a survey of market conditions, and appointed acting chief executive Philip Robinson as interim head for a year.

Veredus may suggest that the originally advertised terms and conditions - including the £200,000 maximum salary -be revised to attract candidates, though any improvement in the offer will raise the spectre of ministerial intervention.

Bradford hit the headlines in July, when deputy prime minister John Prescott told the Local Government Association conference that no chief executive should be paid more than £175,000 - the amount earned by prime minister Tony Blair.

A council spokeswoman said: 'Bradford's situation is not unusua l. There is a lot of movement within local government at the present time and the council needs to review its options carefully.'

Three of the original shortlist are understood to have been appointed elsewhere.

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