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District to delete chief post

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Wellingborough BC acted “disgracefully” by announcing the ousting of its chief executive in local newspapers before informing councillors, its opposition group has claimed.

The council has decided to delete the post of chief executive John Campbell and will share his duties among other senior managers in ways yet to be decided.

Mr Campbell joined in 2012 from North Hertfordshire DC, where he had been chief executive for six years. He is paid in a salary range of £103,758 to £108,084.

A council statement said savings from deleting the post could not yet be quantified as “there will be further discussions about the management model in April”.

It added: “Salary arrangements will be reviewed for the senior management team, which will reflect the fact that the chief executive’s responsibilities will be devolved to those remaining.

“The redundancy compensation for the chief executive is being finalised, and cannot be confirmed at this stage.”

An earlier council statement from leader Martin Griffiths (Con) said Mr Campbell had been “a loyal and dedicated officer” and wished him well for the future.

Labour group leader Andrew Scarborough said: “Councillors from all parties have been working together on the budget for months and at no stage did the Conservative administration bring these ideas to committee for discussion and debate.

“Everything was decided in secret and they only came to council for the decision to be rubber-stamped after they had already announced it in the Evening Telegraph. That’s an affront to democracy and a disgraceful way to treat decent and hard-working staff who have served the council loyally and well.”

However, in a statement the council said the decision to notify the press had been Mr Campbell’s choice and councillors had earlier been confidentially informed.

It explained: “The outgoing chief executive asked to be able to notify the staff and the media on 22 February, in advance of the council meeting. This is the date on which the local press were made aware of the situation.”

Ian Miller, honorary secretary of the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives, said: “As a matter of general principle, we don’t support councils doing away with the role of chief executive - many of those that have tried doing without have ultimately recreated the role - but naturally we will assist any member facing proposals that affect employment and seek to negotiate the best outcome for them.”

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