Cheshire East Council has appointed a temporary officer to its senior management team at a cost of over £1000 a day.
Jan Willis has been appointed as Interim Section 151 Officer, responsible for Finance, Procurement and Audit on an initial daily rate of £1,025. The Council then intends to seek a fixed term contract at a monthly salary cost of £10,626.
The role was previously held by Peter Bates, Chief Operating Officer, but the decision has been taken to make an external interim appointment to enable the Chief Operating Officer to focus on other responsibilities.
An Interim Statutory Monitoring Officer has also been appointed to cover the current absence of Bill Norman, Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer.
Daniel Dickinson, Deputy Monitoring Officer, has been appointed Interim Monitoring Officer and Director of Legal Services at an additional monthly cost of £2,621 (which represents the difference between his current monthly salary and the Monitoring Officer's monthly salary).
The decision to make these two appointments was taken by Kath O'Dwyer, the Acting Chief Executive, under 'urgency procedures'.
A report prepared for a meeting of the Staffing Committee on Thursday, 27th April, stated "A requirement to introduce immediate interim arrangements for the role of Statutory Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer has recently arisen. Given the importance of these statutory roles and the risk of delaying effective interim arrangements until Staffing Committee and Council, or until a quorate special meetings of those bodies can be convened, the delay was considered to be unacceptable. For this reason, urgency procedures were applied."
Kath O'Dwyer has been made Acting Chief Executive following Cheshire East Council's decision to suspend Chief Executive Mike Suarez while an independent investigation is undertaken after concerns were raised over the conduct of one or more senior officers at Cheshire East Council.
The Council will not disclose any details regarding the nature of the concerns raised about officer conduct or whether the committee is investigating the conduct of any other officers.