Hull Council boss leaves with immediate effect

July 11, 2012 4:48 PM

It's out with the new and in with the old at Hull City Council.

Last Friday, it was announced that chief executive, Nicola Yates would be leaving the authority with immediate effect. She has only been in post for just over two years. No-one from the council will officially state the exact reasons why she has made such a hasty exit other than there had been a series of clashes, however sources have told me the relationship between her and council leader Steve Brady had broken down to such an extent he was refusing to take her phone calls or reply to her e-mails.

The question on everyone's lips of course is how much is she getting in compensation for loss of office. Again, everyone is keeping tight lipped about this, however we know from experience that she will probably have walked away with a six-figure sum.

Yesterday the council announced the return of Darryl Stephenson, a former council boss who moved to become chief executive of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) when the authority was formed in the mid-nineties. Mr Stephenson retired from that role in 2005, and supporters may remember in 2010 his wife, Sue Lockwood was allowed to take early retirement from ERYC, and saw her pension pot augmented by £364,205.

A local councillor told me last year that Mr Stephenson charged up to £1200 a day as a public sector consultant, so the rumours that he will be paid at least £800 a day as the interim lead officer in Hull will not be far off the mark.

Cllr Brady has also hinted at Hull and ERYC sharing services in a bid to save money now that Mr Stephenson is back in the Guildhall. I personally think this is unlikely as it has been ruled out before, and as Cllr Brady has confirmed this will be just an interim appointment for a few months, there is nothing Mr Stephenson can do to turn shared services into a reality.

To add another ingredient into the mix, there are also suggestions the council will abolish the role of chief executive. This has been done in some other authorities, and for some this approach will work, and for others it will not. The priority for all councils though has to be reducing costs, and this is what Cllr Brady said he was going to do at the beginning of May after the local elections. He stated he was intent on reducing the senior officer wage bill by £1 million. How he proposes to do this by summarily dismissing a chief executive who has been working on this plan, paying her compensation, and then appointing an interim lead officer on a high daily rate, is far from clear.

When Labour were swept to power  in May 2011, he said he was going to start negotiations with the unions over the mileage rates claimed by staff. We revealed last year officers are receiving 65p per mile for using their cars on council business. Cllr Brady's aim is to reduce this to the recommended HMRC rate of 45p per mile. Despite repeated assurances that a deal is imminent, an announcement on this has not been made.

Time will tell if he succeeds in reducing the senior wage bill by £1 million, however judging by the current debacle, and past experience, I am not convinced.

 It's out with the new and in with the old at Hull City Council.

Last Friday, it was announced that chief executive, Nicola Yates would be leaving the authority with immediate effect. She has only been in post for just over two years. No-one from the council will officially state the exact reasons why she has made such a hasty exit other than there had been a series of clashes, however sources have told me the relationship between her and council leader Steve Brady had broken down to such an extent he was refusing to take her phone calls or reply to her e-mails.

The question on everyone's lips of course is how much is she getting in compensation for loss of office. Again, everyone is keeping tight lipped about this, however we know from experience that she will probably have walked away with a six-figure sum.

Yesterday the council announced the return of Darryl Stephenson, a former council boss who moved to become chief executive of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) when the authority was formed in the mid-nineties. Mr Stephenson retired from that role in 2005, and supporters may remember in 2010 his wife, Sue Lockwood was allowed to take early retirement from ERYC, and saw her pension pot augmented by £364,205.

A local councillor told me last year that Mr Stephenson charged up to £1200 a day as a public sector consultant, so the rumours that he will be paid at least £800 a day as the interim lead officer in Hull will not be far off the mark.

Cllr Brady has also hinted at Hull and ERYC sharing services in a bid to save money now that Mr Stephenson is back in the Guildhall. I personally think this is unlikely as it has been ruled out before, and as Cllr Brady has confirmed this will be just an interim appointment for a few months, there is nothing Mr Stephenson can do to turn shared services into a reality.

To add another ingredient into the mix, there are also suggestions the council will abolish the role of chief executive. This has been done in some other authorities, and for some this approach will work, and for others it will not. The priority for all councils though has to be reducing costs, and this is what Cllr Brady said he was going to do at the beginning of May after the local elections. He stated he was intent on reducing the senior officer wage bill by £1 million. How he proposes to do this by summarily dismissing a chief executive who has been working on this plan, paying her compensation, and then appointing an interim lead officer on a high daily rate, is far from clear.

When Labour were swept to power  in May 2011, he said he was going to start negotiations with the unions over the mileage rates claimed by staff. We revealed last year officers are receiving 65p per mile for using their cars on council business. Cllr Brady's aim is to reduce this to the recommended HMRC rate of 45p per mile. Despite repeated assurances that a deal is imminent, an announcement on this has not been made.

Time will tell if he succeeds in reducing the senior wage bill by £1 million, however judging by the current debacle, and past experience, I am not convinced.

 

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