Hull City Council's senior management recruitment drive

It was confirmed yesterday that Daryll Stephenson, Hull City Council's part-time interim Chief Executive, is now the permanent council boss. He will work two days a week for a salary of £65,000 a year. It is also worth noting at this point that Mr Stephenson is the former Chief Executive of neighbouring East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

He took early retirement from that post in 2005 - and his time there was not without controversy. His wife, Sue Lockwood, was also embroiled in controversy in 2010, when East Riding Council allowed her to retire early and her pension pot received a taxpayer funded top-up of £364,205.

The council also wants to create the role of Chief Operating Officer. It was originally thought this would be recruited internally. This would have meant an existing director receiving a pay rise for taking on additional responsibilities when Mr Stephenson was not at his desk. It now appears this is not so. On Tuesday, the council advertised externally for this new role on a negotiable salary.

"Why have a Chief Executive and a Chief Operating Officer?", you may ask. I have asked the same question and haven't got any definitive answers, other than it is possible Mr Stephenson will deal with the big projects and talk to ministers, and the Chief Operating Officer will deal with the day-to-day management of the council. This is just speculation though.

You would think that the job of Chief Executive could be scrapped entirely. This is what happened in Windsor & Maidenhead when the Chief Executive's role was scrapped and one of the existing directors became Managing Director. This saved taxpayers over £200,000 a year. Surely a new Chief Operating Officer will have the experience to represent the city at a senior level and talk to ministers?

So it looks likely that Hull City Council is going to increase its senior wage bill and add another layer of management. It's unclear why the politicians think this is necessary, and they are keeping their cards close to their chest. One thing is for sure though, this story is going to keep on running.

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