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Senior Cheshire East officers stripped of duties

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Cheshire East Council’s chief operating officer has been stripped of section 151 officer duties, while the local authority’s monitoring officer has also had his responsibilities taken off him, LGC understands.

The news comes after chief executive Mike Suarez was suspended pending an investigation last month.

Cheshire East’s acting chief executive Kath O’Dwyer has, under urgency procedures, appointed an interim section 151 officer, as well as an interim monitoring officer.

Section 151 officer duties had previously been carried out by the council’s chief operating officer Peter Bates.

A report before the council’s staffing committee last month said the section 151 officer role has now been taken up by Jan Willis, who has more than 12 years’ experience in similar roles within local government. This will allow Mr Bates to “focus on other responsibilities within his remit”, the report said.

LGC understands Mr Bates has not been suspended and he is still turning up for work.

LGC also understands monitoring officer Bill Norman has also been stripped of his duties and is ‘off sick’.

The report said Daniel Dickinson, currently deputy monitoring officer, had been offered the role of monitoring officer and director of legal services “on an interim basis”. Mr Dickinson has more than 16 years of local authority experience within Cheshire, 12 of which are as a practising solicitor.

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