Councillors have agreed to make the chief executive of Norfolk County Council redundant within weeks, but opponents have slammed that decision as potentially “disastrous”.

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As part of a council review known as Enterprising Norfolk, ordered by the controlling Conservative cabinet, chief executive David White, who is on a basic annual salary of £205,322, has recommended that he leaves the authority in April.

He said it had become “crystal clear” he lacks the skills the authority needs to become more commercially minded in an environment where government grants are dwindling and councils are expected to find ways to generate their own income.

Today, Norfolk county councillors agreed the post of chief executive in its current format should be made redundant from April, and a recruitment launched to find a replacement managing director, paid between £165,000 and £180,000 a year,

However, at the full council meeting where Mr White’s departure was agreed, opposition councillors had called for the decision to be put on hold until after May’s all-out council elections.

Sue Whitaker, Labour councillor for Lakenham, put forward a proposal to defer the decision for six months. She said: “The project we know as Enterprising Norfolk is due to report at the end of February so I find it very strange that the report is not being presented as a whole.

“I think this whole thing is predicated on the idea that there will be no change in the political make-up of this council after the elections in May, and I think that is arrogant.

“It’s a really silly time to say the head of his council should go, because it may be that we have a change of council and a change of leader, so this whole thing seems to be back to front to me.”

John Dobson, Conservative councillor for Dersingham agreed. He said: “I believe it is a wrong move for the chief executive to take redundancy at a critical time. We need a firm hand on the helm.”

And Paul Morse, Liberal Democrat councillor for North Walsham East, said shifting the council’s focus to becoming more commercial could have a “disastrous” outcome.

However, the proposal for the decision to be put on hold was defeated by 28 votes to 16, with one abstention. The council then agreed, by 28 votes to 15, with two abstentions that Mr White should be made redundant by April 6 and that the recruitment process should start.

Bill Borrett, the council’s acting leader, hit back at the critics for “party politics”. He said the council had to become more commercially minded because the amount of government grant was going down. He said: “We are going to have to be in business so we can protect our services. This is all about delivering the best services to the people of Norfolk.”

14 comments

  • It shows that there is a market for feeble weak executives on Tory councils, it leaves cllr.s to run the roost. The decision to make this post more business like, proposed by an overbearing and undemocratic cabinet, can easily wait until after the election in May. And yes, to assume nothing will change is rather premature.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • Did all the other Councillors pull a sickie?If only 45 voted,were the others Lording it elsewhere? "Party politics" would be better off only in London, at least people can see and hear what they get up to there.

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    bedoomed

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • Mr White says himself" he lacks the skills" so why dosen't he just get the sack ?

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    Sandra Osborn

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

  • I was so sorry to see HMV go ito administration. May we assume that NCC Enterprises plc - haing snapped up the former RAF Coltishall site - will bid for that next?

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    Nemesis

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

  • Rewarding a failure. How many more do not have the skills.

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    Sandra Osborn

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

  • Ingo makes an excellent point. If there is a weak nobody in the position of Chief Executive or Managing Director or Lord High Seal or whatever stupid title they want to give him then the ridiculous specimens that pass as the cabinet can boss him around. And as none of them have the wit or intellect to run a whelk stall on Cromer seafront then we the public have real problems coming up unless we reduce the Tory numbers at the next election so they have to behave themselves.

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    Electra

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

  • Rewarding failure...nfn!!!

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    nrg

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • The people of Norfolk may well decide there is a better way.Who knows if "du different"might not apply?

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • Did all the other Councillors pull a sickie?If only 45 voted,were the others Lording it elsewhere? "Party politics" would be better off only in London, at least people can see and hear what they get up to there.

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • Look at the image of him says it all "takes a worried man to sing a worried song". Absolutely agree, that the cabinet have walked rings around this one.

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    Marigold

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

  • Note they want a MD to replace the CE. Sounds very business like. Someone with some ideas to deal with the waste of cash that is ex-RAF Coltishall would be a good start. Haven't they got a MD at Norse who they can shuffle across? With so much sharing of senior council officers nowadays surely they can borrow from elsewhere and save our money.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • Andy, his pension will be based on £200k last earnings at the failed Norfolk County Council post...as regards to his pot...THE former managing director of Thurrock Council, reportedly sacked by the borough's ruling Conservatives but given a £347,000 payout, has walked into a new job with a Tory council. David White, who has also accrued a pension fund of more than £500,000 in his various civil service posts, has been appointed chief executive of Norfolk County Council at an undisclosed salary between £175,000 and £195,000...nuff said!!!

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    nrg

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • This 'decision'does not get any better with the passing of time. The excuse given is feeble. Are they trying to say that he is an expert in all the services that the council provides? He is there to manage others not carry out all the work. Much has been said about his redundancy pay but what about his pension? Will he get that early too because the extra cost of that will be far greater than the cost of redundancy.

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    andy

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • David White is a director of NORSE, on a nice little earner from the contracts they 'win' from NCC. I think he may have a very good reason to look worried Marigold, isn't the Chief Exec responsible for what goes on at County Hall? If someone has brought the NCC into disrepute under his watch, he may have a lot of questions to answer if the Standards Committee clear that person, and if they don't, that person may sing like a canary. I'd reckon on a lot of singing is going on there at the moment, probably a dirge or two. Why wait until May for a good clear out, let's get it started now.

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    Honest John

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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