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Who will get the £200,000 a year top job?

(January 21, 2009)
ONE of the most important decisions the new unitary Wiltshire Council will have to take concerns the identity of the new chief executive.
Under the rules of the changeover the existing county chief Dr Keith Robinson can continue until March 2010 by which time the post must have been subject to open competition.
Last year members of the implementation executive agreed that the choosing of the new chief should be left to the new council but the decision to put the election day back by a month has thrown a spanner in the works.
Now it appear that the existing council should get the programme under way - while leaving the final choice to those elected in June.
One thing the existing members will need to do is draw up the job spec and also decide on the salary.
“This is a very important matter which should be left exclusively to the newly elected councillors,” said Steve Dancey, a former leader of independent group on the council.
“Wages paid to chief executive are always six figure with some approaching £200,000 a year.
“This process needs to be as open as possible and it must be for the newly elected council to set the salary as they will be the ones who have to take the flack when the details are revealed to the public.
“Getting the right person is also vitally important.
“When I was a member of the council the senior management team of chief executive Andrew Browning, solicitor Nicol Smith and chief education officer Ivor Slocombe was nothing short of excellent.
“I’ve seen a lot of chief executives over the past two decades and their performance, attitude and personalities have varied enormously.
“To run Wiltshire councillors will need someone who will guide rather direct, someone who is diplomatic and totally above board.
“Wiltshire has only had six chief officers in the past 120 years so this is a long term and very important choice.
“What we don’t want is a self-opinionated character operating in some kind of binary star arrangement with the leader of the council setting his or her own agenda.”

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