Posted: 25.09.20 at 19:18 by The Editor
COUNCILLORs have thwarted an 18 month-long plan by the council's chief executive to appoint an assistant director on a salary of more than £75,000 to run the High House Production Park.
The position first came to light in March last year when CEO Lyn Carpenter plotted a reshuffle of her senior management staff - an issue that brought huge controversy around her bid to merge some departments and directorships, particularly children's services.
That plan – which was also eventually defeated by councillor power - took up many headlines but the High House position, which was also allied to taking charge of economic development, drifted along in the background - eventually coming before senior councillors who form the authority's general services committee on Thursday, 25 September.
The meeting took place behind closed doors and also dealt with two other potential appointments for assistant directors for planning, transport & public protection and children's social care & early help.
A 'long list' of applicants for the latter two positions went through but a roadblock halted the High House appointment in its tracks.
A hint of the councillors' disquiet about the position had come last year when Thurrock Council leader Rob Gledhill told the media in a private briefing that he was against the idea and at Thursday's meeting Thurrock Nub News understands members of the committee were told by the Conservatives' regeneration portfolio holder Cllr Mark Coxshall that he saw no justification for the creation of the post in the way it had been presented to the committee.
He will be seeking a new designation for the role and will be discussing a way forward with senior officers next week and told Thurrock Nub News: "During this time of Imminent local government reorganisation external relationships, with SLEP, HMG, Transport East, growth forums, businesses and a like are vital, as well as making sure we maximise growth in the borough. I want to make Thurrock continues to punch well above its weight."
That view that the role presented to councillors was not right was unanimously backed by other councillors on the committee, which was chaired in the absence of Cllr Gledhill by opposition leader Cllr John Kent. Also absent was deputy leader Cllr Shane Hebb but he and Cllr Gledhill were substituted by fellow Tories Cllrs Andrew Jefferies and Barry Johnson who are also cabinet members.
Cllr Bukky Okunade was Labour's second representative and independent councillors Fraser Massey and Gary Byrne were also present.
The council's senior officer cohort was represented by HR director Jackie Hincliffe and director of place Andy Millard who reportedly were less than pleased with the councillors' decision!
In the wake of the meeting Thurrock Nub news asked the council for an update on decisions made and what the response was to councillors’ rejection of the directorship as presented to them but we were told: “We will not be commenting on a confidential agenda item.”
Aveley and Kenningtons Community Forum first public meeting since lockdown. Very friendly meetings. We are also looking for committee members if y...