Cornwall Council approves appointment of chief executive
Cornwall Council has confirmed the appointment of its new chief executive following the high profile exit of its former head to New Zealand earlier this year.
Andrew Kerr, who was recommended for the appointment by a selection committee on Friday, was rubber stamped in to the position by the full council in a meeting at new county hall in Truro this morning.
The council voted in favour of the appointment of Mr Kerr, who will now leave his post as chief operating officer at Cardiff Council, and receive a salary of between £158,000 and £176,000.
The former chief executive previously hit national headlines, being labelled a “fat cat” boss following a six figure pay off from his £183,000 a year job as chief executive of Wiltshire Council.
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He replaces Kevin Lavery following the former chief executive’s departure to a post at Wellington City Council in New Zealand.
Mr Lavery, who at one time was on a £200,000 a year salary, was seen as a champion of outsourcing council services and a row over a privatisation deal with BT last October was followed by the ousting of council leader Alec Robertson
In confirming the member’s appointment panel decision to choose Mr Kerr, council leader John Pollard thanked interim chief executive Paul Masters – who has carried out the role in the wake of Mr Lavery’s departure.
He said: “Over the last few months he has led this organisation in a very positive and enthusiastic manner and ably fulfilled his brief.”
He said Mr Kerr was the best candidate for a very important role.
“Andrew Kerr is an experienced chief executive. He impressed members of the panel with his clarity and understanding of the challenges for the future.”
Councillors said Mr Kerr was chosen after an intensive two day appointment process.
Deputy leader Jeremy Rowe said a number of people may have been surprised by the choice.
“What we’ve had from this is a unanimous cross-party agreement,” he said. “I think we as a panel surprised ourselves.
He added: "I think it is fair to say we, in the end, picked the best person for the job.”
Both members praised panel chairman Fiona Ferguson for her role during the process.
The vote was passed with a few abstentions and one member against, with councillor Mark Kaczmarek criticising the appointments process, saying councillors not on the panel should have been given the opportunity to meet the candidates.
Mr Masters will return to his former role as assistant chief executive.