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Cheshire East Chief Exec appointment questioned
AN emergency meeting could be called at Cheshire East Council following concerns that the appointment of a new chief executive was made behind closed doors.
Kim Ryley is due to be seconded to the top job at the authority on August 13.
The 59-year-old is joining the council from his post as chief executive of the Tory-led Shropshire Council on temporary basis for three months.
But Clr Brendan Murphy, a member of Cheshire East’s staffing committee, is angry that the first he heard about the appointment was in an email from council leader Michael Jones.
In an email to Clr Jones, the independent councillor said: “You describe the appointment as agreed with staffing committee members.
“But the matter was never put to the staffing committee, let alone approved by it.”
Minutes from a meeting on April 19 show the council agreed to delegate arrangements for the appointment of an interim chief executive.
But Clr Murphy argues that no agreement was made to delegate the actual appointment.
He has also raised concerns that the terms of the arrangement have not been made clear and has asked Clr Jones why Mr Ryley ‘has become suddenly surplus to Shropshire’s requirements’.
Clr Murphy said: “I am far from satisfied with this appointment. I want an emergency meeting of the staffing committee to stop it.
“There are far too many unanswered questions. The process of appointing someone on the basis of private chats is unlawful.
“The Council constitution lays down very clear rules of procedure.”
But Clr Jones said: “The council meeting of April 19 authorised the leader and the chairman of the staffing committee to proceed with the process of appointing a new chief executive, in consultation with the three opposition group leaders.
“Kim Ryley is the most outstanding candidate and it saddens me that Clr Brendan Murphy has chosen to harangue us about the process because he did not personally meet him.
“Kim’s appointment is the right thing to do – not only for the council but for the people of Cheshire East.
“The actual process of vetting Kim Ryley’s appointment has involved many members including the staffing committee, where possible.
“Originally it was assumed that he would come part-time, if it was viable. “It was very clear that after his week of meeting further with members and officers, as well as the People’s Panel, Kim was excited by the role but he did not see it as a part-time position.
“Bearing in mind the remit provided for the appointment, and that there was no specification of full-time or part-time, and after consultation with Clr David Topping as chair of the staffing committee, we agreed to proceed with a full-time interim appointment – as this seems best for Cheshire East.
“This is to be reviewed by the entire staffing committee in November and, in the meantime, a cross-party group to review our governance of senior management needs to be implemented.
“I believe that Clr Murphy should be on that group and I will arrange for him to meet Kim in his first week.
“I would hope that, rather than throwing stones of petulance, a man of Cllr Murphy’s experience would better use his abilities by seeking a way forward.”
Mr Ryley will step in as full time interim chief executive from August 13 to November 30.
He will continue to be paid by Shropshire Council with Cheshire East paying the authority around £64,500 for the length his secondment.