HDC MDs vice CEO

HUNTINGDONSHIRE District Council now has two managing directors, in anticipation of losing its chief executive at the end of August.

But the arrangement is only temporary: a different structure could come into effect in March next year.

Chief executive David Monks is due to leave in the summer under voluntary redundancy arrangements – he is in Italy this month, looking for somewhere to live.

The council has a variety of functions to which an individual officer must be identified – finance officer, head of paid service, monitoring officer and returning officer. Mr Monks holds two of those, responsible for paid service and elections (on which he is an acknowledged expert).

Finance officer is Terry Parker, who has become managing director (resources) from director of commerce and technology.

Monitoring officer is Colin Meadowcroft, the authority’s chief lawyer (head of law, property and governance).

With the future role of returning officer yet to be determined, the paid service role – responsibility for co-ordinating the council’s functions and for ensuring there are sufficient staff at the right grade to discharge them – will be taken over when Mr Monks leaves by Malcolm Sharp, who has become managing director (communities, partnerships and projects) and was previously director of environment and community services.

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The two new MDs and Mr Monks are three components of the council’s managing quadrumvirate. The future of the fourth, director of central services Ian Leatherbarrow is yet to be determined.

The appointment of the two MDs shows “a clear direction of travel” with Mr Sharp tending to be the outward face of the council and Mr Parker looking inwards, Mr Sharp said yesterday (Tuesday).

Whether this Janus arrangement will survive we shall know before next March, but it is clear that the new management structure will be along business rather than purely administrative lines, as decision-making shifts back to the politicians with the election of the new leader Councillor Jason Ablewhite.

What is almost inevitable is that there will be further job losses over the next few years on top of the equivalent of 124 identified for the current year and largely accounted for by voluntary redundancies, not filling vacant posts and deleting temporary jobs.

“We have just started working on further savings,” Mr Sharp said. “We are still �2million short, over and above what we have already identified, over the next five years.”

Much will depend on political decision-making in Whitehall and in Cllr Ablewhite’s new slimline cabinet.