THE MANAGING director of Wychavon District Council is set to be hired as the joint chief executive for Malvern Hills and Wychavon.
A joint shared appointments committee between the two councils has recommended Jack Hegarty be appointed to the £118,000-a-year post, but it has now been revealed Malvern’s current chief, Chris Bocock, did not interview for the role.
Wychavon councillors approved the move last night (Tuesday) and Malvern councillors will debate the matter tomorrow (Thursday).
If Malvern agree, Mr Hegarty will assume the role no later than December 1.
The restructure is expected to bring savings of £60,000 per year for each council.
Opposition councillors on the Democratic and Liberal Democrat groups at Malvern Hills have objected to the way the ruling Tories have gone about the move. They have called for further options to be explored and claimed a six-figure grant from the Government was the only major incentive.
They also questioned why the new post was ring fenced to the two current chiefs and have reacted angrily to the news Mr Bocock never went for the job in the end.
Coun Tom Wells, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: “On the basis of the information I have see so far, I am deeply disturbed by what has been going on. The fact that only one person was interviewed would appear to confirm the view that this was always a done deal.
“Once again, it would appear that the Tory run council is lacking accountability and openness in its dealings.”
While Tony Warburton, member of the Democratic group, claimed Mr Bocock’s redundancy would cost taxpayers about £180,000 to £88,000 with a further £92,000 contribution to his pension.
He branded the selection process a ‘charade’ to validate a decision which had already been made behind closed doors.
In response Coun David Hughes, leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Following MHDC’s agreed HR protocols and legal advice, a preliminary conversation with Mr Bocock identified that he would prefer to choose voluntary redundancy, which he was entitled to do. Because of this interviewing him would have been a pointless exercise.
“The interview process itself was robust, challenging and rightly tested Mr Hegarty to a very high standard.
“The information on Mr Bocock’s redundancy package is being taken as a confidential item in line with standard procedures, no different to any other staff member.
“It is worth noting that despite repeatedly being invited to take part in the recruitment process neither the Liberal Democrats nor the Democratic Group from Malvern Hills District Council engaged with the process.”