D-day for top job at county

THE identity of the new chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council is to be announced to councillors on October 30 – seven months to the day after Ian Stewart handed in his resignation. Mr Stewart, 60, announced his retirement from the £199,999 a ye

THE identity of the new chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council is to be announced to councillors on October 30 - seven months to the day after Ian Stewart handed in his resignation.

Mr Stewart, 60, announced his retirement from the £199,999 a year post just days after former council leader Keith Walters said he, too, was stepping down.

New council leader Shona Johnstone said there had been always "an unwritten agreement" between the two men that they would retire from the council at the same time.

She said their departures created "a bit of difficulty since it was not reasonable for arrangements to be put in a place at that point to recruit a new chief executive without the new leader having a large input.


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"The leader and the chief executive have to work together closely."

She said the process of finding a new chief executive could not, therefore, begin until she was ratified as council leader on May 15 "by which point we were in difficulty about timetables."

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Had the recruitment process for a new chief executive begun immediately, they would have run into the holiday period both for applicants and for producing a short list.

"We did not want to rule out a chief executive on the basis he or she might have booked two weeks in Florida and was therefore not available," she said.

The main advertisement for a new chief executive is being published this week, and Cllr Johnstone said she was preparing a podcast about the role.

Interviews will be conducted over three days from October 15 and the new chief will be announced at the next county council meeting on October 30.

In the meantime, Cllr Johnstone said: "I am taking on more of an executive leader role, having a weekly meeting with the strategic management team and the arrangements we have in place are currently working well.

"Others can judge us by our performance.

"I am not saying we don't need a chief executive as quickly as possible - absolutely, we do."

She described the delay over the appointment as "happenstance and not conspiracy".

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