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Districts end shared chief role

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Sharing districts in Lancashire are to abandon their joint management arrangements after just seven months.

Chorley BC and Wyre BC are to delete the shared post and go their separate ways when Donna Hall moves to become Wigan MBC’s deputy chief executive in August.

Ahead of the departure of Ms Hall, below, Wyre has appointed Garry Payne, currently the council’s director of regeneration, to be the next chief executive.

Wyre leader Peter Gibson (Con) said the shared arrangement had been entirely about Ms Hall’s skills, not about sharing services.

“We shared a chief executive and that was it and that was only because Donna Hall had the right skills at the right time,” he said. “We never had any other [sharing] arrangements.”

Asked whether the two councils had discussed the possibility of appointing a shared chief executive to replace Ms Hall, Cllr Gibson said he had no idea what Chorley - which changed from Conservative to no overall control earlier this month - intended to do about appointing a new chief executive.

When the sharing arrangement was announced last year, Cllr Gibson said the move put the two councils “at the forefront of the changing role of local authorities” and the publicity organised by the pair referred to community secretary Eric Pickles’ call for more shared chief executives.

Chorley’s leader Peter Goldsworthy (Con) said the council was yet to decide what to do. “We will need to sit down and discuss all the options open to us before making a decision,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for us to look at how we can further reduce senior management costs and provide even better value for money to residents while ensuring that we remain a top performing organisation providing excellent services to local people.”

Cllr Gibson said Wyre had decided an internal appointment was now the best solution for the council. “We have three directors and they were all very strong candidates and they benefitted from the time that Donna was with us so we felt that an internal appointment was best.”

Mr Payne will be paid up to £90,000, compared to the £60,000 Wyre paid towards Ms Hall’s salary. However, Cllr Gibson said the council would save an extra £20,000 a year by deleting one director post.

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