Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What cost the Chief Exec's sudden departure?

Serious questions need to be asked following the sudden departure of Duncan Kerr from his £105,000 a year job as Chief Exec of our district council.

He was no friend of the Deepings. But in the interests of taxpayers, someone surely needs to ask how much it's costing us to see him 'get on his bike'.

A couple of weeks ago, I was tipped off by a usually reliable source that the Tories who run the Grantham-based South Kesteven District Council were planning to 'get rid' of their chief officer Duncan Kerr by staging a 'vote of no confidence'.

Sure enough, earlier this week, an 'extraordinary' secret meeting of the Council was held, followed by an official press release saying Duncan Kerr he was leaving that very day.

Not even a day's notice?

In fact, it seems he'd already cleared his desk and was no more.

A press release was issued after the meeting saying that Duncan Kerr would be leaving that very day. The only comment was from the dearly departed himself saying what a swell time he's had as boss of SKDC.

What wasn't in the press release spoke volumes. No comment from anyone other than the dearly departed himself, who claims he's decided to 'take his life in another direction'. Answers on a postcard, if anyone knows what that means.
A second press release appeared on SKDC's website at the same time to announce the appointment of an interim chief executive.

In contrast to the first release, Council Leader Linda Neal says the Council's strategic director has 'the council's full confidence and support' and she's 'delighted' that she's accepted the role of interim boss.

In other words, Duncan Kerr doesn't enjoy the council's confidence or support!

I don't know what's led to Mr Kerr's departure. Certainly, eyebrows were raised last year when he was given three months (unpaid) off for a biking holiday when it seems that the council realised they could manage without Mr Kerr.

This time, it seems, he's been told to get on bike and don't bother coming back!

Lincolnshire Tories of course have form in 'getting rid' of Chief Execs.

At the county council, the Chief Exec David Bowles called in the police leading their Leader Jim Speechley going to prison for abuse of office.

The Tories vowed to 'get rid' of David Bowles for his 'treachery'.

The price to the public purse was a massive £400,000 pay-off to Mr Bowles which the Tories tried to keep secret.

After that disgraceful episode, the county council was forced to pay a massive premium to attract top officers to work in Lincolnshire.

Much has changed since then. But every taxpayer in Lincolnshire is still paying the price of Speechley.

So isn't it reasonable to now ask what's the price of Mr Kerr's departure?

It seems that, like Mr Bowles, the Tories wanted Mr Kerr to go.

Are we expected to believe that he just decided to simply walk (or cycle!) away from his £105,000 a year salary without giving any notice?

Or has he done a deal?

If so, what's it costing us?

We deserve to be told.


Rob Shorrock said...

An FOI request, I think Phil. I will put one in.



fairdealphil said...

Thanks Rob, i'm waiting and giving a little time to see if they are prepared to come clean and avoid the freedom of information requests, but if nothing by early next week, will follow the FOI route.

Rob Shorrock said...

Hope you are well Phil. My FOI request on this matter is now going to the ICO. Unfortunatley, the average wait on these things is apparently 19 months. I have also decided to refer the members who entered into the confidentiality agreement with Mr Kerr to the Standards Board for England as I believe it is incompatible with the members code and, anyway, I am likely to get a response quicker that the ICO.