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ISLE OF WIGHT STAYS A CHIEF-FREE ZONE

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Isle of Wight CC has decided not to appoint a chief executive. It will instead be managed by an executive group of ...
Isle of Wight CC has decided not to appoint a chief executive. It will instead be managed by an executive group of ^ve directors liasing with members until the new island authority comes into being next year.

'The council has decided to leave decisions on whether or not we need a new chief executive to the new council in May next year,' county personnel of^cer David Ball said.

The current leader of the council, Morris Barton, has given assurances that the new authority will give early consideration to whether to continue with the executive arrangement or revert to a more traditional chief executive approach.

The ^ve who form the executive are director of education John Williams, director of community services Bill Davison, director of administration and legal services Felix Hetherington, and the directors of ^nance and corporate services. These two posts are currently vacant but are likely to be ^lled within the next few weeks, Mr Ball said.

The council went through a recruitment procedure for a chief executive in May but failed to appoint after its appointment panel was irreconcilably split over the candidates. It decided to review how best to proceed.

One option discarded was to readvertise the post at a higher salary. The original salary of £60,000 was criticised by some as being too low.

'The political view was that the parliamentary group approach was worth trying as it has operated in other authorities. The politicians felt it was worth trying here as an experiment,' Mr Ball said.

The decision goes against advice from the Staff Commission and the Local Government Management Board. The LGMB's report Commissioning the new authorities published earlier this month urged appointing a chief executive in the early days of a shadow running to help set the tone and style of a new authority.

Representatives of the three Isle of Wight councils are to meet with the Staff Commission on 11 August in an attempt to resolve differences over the treatment of staff in the setting up of the new island authority.

Medina BC is due to meet barrister Patrick Elias QC next week to discuss how best to proceed with legal action against the county, which it claims is discriminating against borough employees in its staf^ng plans for the new authority.

Medina argues the county's proposals to give its own staff priority for posts where there is overlap with borough staff contradicts legal advice given by Dr Elias to the Local Government Management Board.

This said that where an inheritor council has to shed staff it must not make a distinction between transferred and existing employees.

Medina has written to the county inviting it to join the legal action, which would then be seeking clari^cation of the legal position. The county has not responded formally.

According to county personnel of^cer David Ball there are likely to be a very small number of supernumary posts in the new authority so the problems Medina envisages will rarely arise.

'Around 3,500 of the 4,000 posts we are talking about can be sorted out rapidly. The problem area is the centre but in terms of numbers it is not huge,' he said.

'We have around 70 posts where we have some _exibility. In the obvious area of overlap - committee clerks - we haven't even got enough between the three councils now.'

Medina personnel manager Alan Greaves is not optimistic the meeting with the Staff Commission can resolve the differences. 'Unless they are prepared to talk in terms of the transfer of undertakings regulations, I don't think there is very much they can do for us,' he said.

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