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Isle of Wight CC Chief Executive John Horsnell is stepping down this autumn after 21 years in post. ...
Isle of Wight CC Chief Executive John Horsnell is stepping down this autumn after 21 years in post.

The council has decided to fill the post by open recruitment. The appointed person will be chief executive of the old county council for around six months before taking the helm of the new unitary island authority due to come into being in April 1995. Elections follow a month later.

'The county will continue under a different name after reorganisation next year and my job would have continued. But I will be nearly 60 and it makes better sense and is surely more efficient to hand on the torch', said Mr Horsnell.

'The county council sees itself as a continuing authority but likes the idea of a fresh start and my departure will facilitate that'.

According to Mr Horsnell the county did not consider making an interim appointment until the newly elected council is in place or involving district representatives in the recruitment process.

'As it happens both borough leaders are county councillors but this is not a three handed appointment', said Mr Horsnell.

Medina BC Personnel Manager Alan Greaves said the districts were happy the post was to be nationally advertised and the council was moving swiftly to fill the vacancy.

'We very much wanted open competition and if that had not been so we would have been very disappointed. Our argument is the appointment should be made at the earliest stage because of the importance of the chief executive in putting the new authority together', said Mr Greaves.

Because of Isle of Wight CC's unique position of becoming a continuing authority taking over district functions Mr Horsnell believes its chief executive appointment process will not set a precedent for any other authority.

The Staff Commission has issued general advice to councils to explore the use of short term contracts, temporary posts or consultants when vacancies crop up before reorganisation.

Normally it would expect decisions on senior appointments to be made by newly elected shadow authorities. The situation on the Isle of Wight does not fit this pattern as the existing county will become additionally a shadow authority without a new political mandate from next month.

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