Council appoints temporary officer on £1,025 a day


Cheshire East Council has appointed a temporary officer to its senior management team at a cost of over £1000 a day.

Jan Willis has been appointed as Interim Section 151 Officer, responsible for Finance, Procurement and Audit on an initial daily rate of £1,025. The Council then intends to seek a fixed term contract at a monthly salary cost of £10,626.

The role was previously held by Peter Bates, Chief Operating Officer, but the decision has been taken to make an external interim appointment to enable the Chief Operating Officer to focus on other responsibilities.

An Interim Statutory Monitoring Officer has also been appointed to cover the current absence of Bill Norman, Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer.

Daniel Dickinson, Deputy Monitoring Officer, has been appointed Interim Monitoring Officer and Director of Legal Services at an additional monthly cost of £2,621 (which represents the difference between his current monthly salary and the Monitoring Officer's monthly salary).

The decision to make these two appointments was taken by Kath O'Dwyer, the Acting Chief Executive, under 'urgency procedures'.

A report prepared for a meeting of the Staffing Committee on Thursday, 27th April, stated "A requirement to introduce immediate interim arrangements for the role of Statutory Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer has recently arisen. Given the importance of these statutory roles and the risk of delaying effective interim arrangements until Staffing Committee and Council, or until a quorate special meetings of those bodies can be convened, the delay was considered to be unacceptable. For this reason, urgency procedures were applied."

Kath O'Dwyer has been made Acting Chief Executive following Cheshire East Council's decision to suspend Chief Executive Mike Suarez while an independent investigation is undertaken after concerns were raised over the conduct of one or more senior officers at Cheshire East Council.

The Council will not disclose any details regarding the nature of the concerns raised about officer conduct or whether the committee is investigating the conduct of any other officers.

Cheshire East Council


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Alan Brough
Sunday 30th April 2017 at 9:40 pm
Craig Brown - Can you explain the rationale behind this?

How can CE Council countenance this cost in the current climate of service cuts?
Craig Browne
Monday 1st May 2017 at 12:40 pm
Hi Alan,

Thanks for asking a very pertinent question.

Unfortunately I do not have the answers, as I do not sit on Staffing Committee. Political representation to the committee is as follows: Conservative 5, Labour 2, Independent (Middlewich First) 1. You can find the individual members of the Committee by following this link:
Having said this, the decision has, I am sure, been taken to provide emergency cover whilst there is an ongoing investigation into the conduct of senior officers at CEC. Beyond that, I will not even attempt to justify the amounts being paid, which to ordinary people such as you or me, seem extortionate to say the least.

As you rightly ask, in the current climate of service cuts, how can this cost be countenanced? It puts me in a very difficult position when I have to try and explain to residents why there is so little money available for better road maintenance, increased parking provision, improved local amenities etc.

Kind regards,
Alan Brough
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 8:48 am
Thanks for your prompt response Craig.

I notice that Gary Barton (Wilmslow West) is Vice Chair of the Staffing Committee so I've asked the same question of him via the Wilmslow site.
Graham Hall
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 2:50 pm
I own and run a successful business so I could do this .I'll bid £9000 a month .
David Hadfield
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 3:31 pm
Craig Browne is to congratulated in giving an honest opinion on the subject of his Cheshire East colleagues offering over £1000 PER DAY for someone to work in a temporary capacity.
Reading Craig's comments, he seems as shocked as the rest of us !
Elizabeth Mooney
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 7:32 pm
And so it goes on , (the non stop "gravy train!" ) The inner sanctum of CEC have a lot to answer for and there is a sense of "deja vu" about this fiasco too.
Adrian Scott
Wednesday 3rd May 2017 at 2:50 pm
Thank you Craig for an honest response. But for we mere mortals I think some of these "Public servants" just laugh at the electorate once in power. The temporary rate is a joke, but note the "Fixed term contract to follow" I wonder is this for 12 months or will it be extended until we have all forgotten about it ?
Helen Williams
Thursday 4th May 2017 at 10:03 am
I am an agency nurse sometimes working in the NHS as an Intensive Care Nurse. Agency nurses are criticized for being a drain on the NHS, I earn £250 a shift!
Elizabeth Mooney
Tuesday 9th May 2017 at 5:45 pm
Helen you are not a drain you provide a far more valuable service than the aforementioned lot. These senior council officials are the real drain. Kath O'Dwyer has a lot of explaining to do.Why was Suarez on 246k a year. (When their own senior staffing guidelines state that no senior tier 1 executive officer will be paid more than £100.000 per year .) A temp is on £1000 of public money per day.....this is criminal. It would be tempting to go on Council Tax strike for 1 month "en masse" as a way if registering our disapproval but I fear it would be the old and vulnerable as well as Schools and Health services which would suffer. Meanwhile our roads are disfigured with dangerous potholes galore. Why do I feel that Nero is in charge at CEC playing his fiddle while all around is burning.