OPPOSITION councillors believe money is being wasted at Cheshire East Council as three temporary officers have taken up leading roles.
CEC has made temporary appointments for its positions of chief executive, section 151 officer, and monitoring officer and head of legal services.
The council has confirmed that Jan Willis is being paid £1,025 a day, which will be reduced to a monthly salary of £10,626, as acting section 151 officer so current officer Peter Bates can ‘focus on other responsibilities’.
Kath O’Dwyer has been appointed as acting chief executive follow the suspension of Mike Suarez over ‘officer conduct’ last month, and Daniel Dickinson will take on the responsibilities of current monitoring officer Bill Norman, who is absent from his post.
In a report, CEC said that it had used ‘urgency procedures’ to appoint the officers ‘given the importance of these statutory roles and the risk of delaying effective interim arrangements’.
Mr Dickinson will be paid £2,621 a month on top of his existing salary for the duration of Mr Norman’s absence.
Labour councillors have slammed borough chiefs for spending money on two wages for each position.
Cllr Nick Mannion, CEC member for Macclesfield West and Ivy, said: “In this case council tax payers will literally be paying as they will have to pay for the salaries of the three most senior officers in the council while at the same time paying for temporary staff who are actually carrying out the roles.”
Steve Hogben, CEC member for Crewe South, added: “At this very difficult time we must give our full support for the front line staff at the council.
“They will be suffering yet more anxiety and uncertainty, whilst continuing to deliver vital services to east Cheshire residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Mr Suarez’s suspension was recommended by members of CEC’s investigation and disciplinary committee on Monday, April 10, following a two-day hearing at Macclesfield Town Hall.
Chairman Cllr Howard Murray announced last month that the decision taken was a ‘neutral act in the best interests of both the council and chief executive’.
The committee reconvened at a meeting on Friday, May 5, which the press and public were again excluded from. CEC was unable to comment on the meeting when approached by the Guardian.