Chairman of panel defends decision to appoint 'fatcat' boss as chief of Cornwall Council
The chairman of the panel in charge of appointing a new chief executive for Cornwall Council has defended the nomination for the top job.
Fiona Ferguson, leader of the Conservative group at County Hall, said the panel could not discriminate in favour of a Cornish candidate.
Cornwall Council will meet this morning to vote on the controversial recommendation of Andrew Kerr for the post which carries a salary of £158,000 to £176,000.
Mr Kerr previously hit the national headlines as a “fatcat” boss after it emerged he picked up a £144,000 redundancy package from Wiltshire Council after working there for 18 months.
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The West Briton revealed this weekend there were doubts among prominent representatives of other organisations over the choice of the new chief executive.
In an e-mail leaked to the newspaper, Richard Williams, the council’s legal boss, admitted the recipients may be "surprised, if not a little disappointed" by the outcome, "in view of the nature of the deliberations" of the stakeholder panel, made up of health, police, education and business leaders,
Mrs Ferguson said: “I know that many people feel that we ought to be able to find a Cornish person to do this job. But, even if it were legal to discriminate in favour of a suitable Cornish candidate, I think that, in facing the enormous financial challenges ahead of us, having a very experienced Chief Executive will benefit us.”
Mrs Ferguson said she believed Mr Kerr's approach would be “persuasive rather than confrontational” and hoped he would be able to start on the job as quickly as possible.
She said: “I understand that he is not immediately going to move his family here because he has children at critical schooling ages. That is an entirely personal matter.”