​Mind the chief executive gap - John McLellan

​An intriguing item on last week’s Edinburgh Council agenda was an SNP amendment bemoaning a gap in finding a replacement for departing chief executive Andrew Kerr, suggesting a disaster akin to the ravens leaving the Tower of London.
City of Edinburgh Council chief executive Andrew KerrCity of Edinburgh Council chief executive Andrew Kerr
City of Edinburgh Council chief executive Andrew Kerr

​Such a gap would create uncertainty for the organisation, claimed the Nationalists, as if a breather from Mr Kerr’s 2050 Vision nonsense would be a bad thing. On the other hand, the gap shouldn’t be so long as to let empire-builders with agendas run amok, and there are plenty of them at Waverley Court.

The SNP might also wish to reflect on the tax situation created by their Scottish Government colleagues which means a chief executive on £173,724 – the average salary for new council CEO appointments last year, according to Local Government Chronicle – will pay £6689 more in tax here than in England.

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It doesn’t rule out someone from a big authority heading north, but must surely reduce the choice, given the Institute of Directors this week warned the tax gap with the rest of the UK is a “barrier to attracting talent and investment.”

The suggestion that a senior management development plan is needed so they can step up to the plate doesn’t reflect well on the current team, and the council’s new People Strategy for the next three years, which the SNP sought to amend, says “We need to develop impactful, strategic leaders”.

Judging by the current bunch, the impact is on the rest of us and if only the strategy added “with due regard to citizen’s wishes.”

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