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LGA suspends chief exec Coen

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Paul Coen has been suspended from his post as Local Government Association chief executive following a major disagreement with its political leadership.

Mr Coen issued a statement confirming he had been asked to take leave after LGCPlus exclusively revealed he was expected to stand down.

In his statement, he wrote: “Since September it has become increasingly difficult to have confidence that the political leadership and the managerial leadership of the LGA are at one on both the direction of travel and the day-to-day leadership of the association.

“On Wednesday I was asked to take leave, which I have done. The LGA and I will now seek to agree a way forward.

“We do not believe that this will be aided by further publicity and speculation and therefore we shall be making no further comment or answering questions until it becomes necessary.”

Pressure

Mr Coen has been under pressure amid dismay over the association’s handling of the potential loss of nearly£1bn held in Icelandic banks by councils.

And he has stoked controversy with plans for the structural reform of the association in which bodies including the Improvement & Development Agency and Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services were to be brought in-house.

One senior local government observer said several council chief executives had been dismayed by aspects of Mr Coen’s performance.

Earlier, Mr Coen told LGC: “I’m certainly not leaving the LGA this morning. I don’t know where your story came from and I have no comment to make on it.”

Mr Coen arrived at the LGA in February 2006, having previously served as chief executive of both Essex and Surrey CCs.

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