Mystery over council chief's job switch

IAN CLARKE A Norfolk council chief whose resignation was shrouded in mystery has already got a new high-flying job and could get a pay rise of up to £25,000-a-year, the EDP can reveal.

IAN CLARKE

A Norfolk council chief whose resignation was shrouded in mystery has already got a new high-flying job and could get a pay

rise of up to £25,000-a-year, the EDP can

reveal.

Becky Hellard, 40, quit as chief executive at Breckland Council on December 8 to "pursue other challenges and interests" and for the previous month she had been under investigation by the authority into "issues surrounding her."

Yesterday, it emerged that Ms Hellard has been appointed the new strategic

Most Read

director for corporate services at Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

The pay scales for the job are £115,000-£125,000 a year.

Breckland has refused to reveal Ms Hellard's salary while at Breckland, but the EDP understands it was about £100,000.

The closing date for the Bradford job was October 27 and that was about two weeks before it was revealed that she was being investigated by a panel of councillors at Breckland.

Breckland will not give any more details about the investigation, apart from to say she defended all allegations and no action was taken against her.

After she took "a step back" from running Breckland in early November, she did not return to the Dereham headquarters.

The council will also not say how much notice she had to give to resign and what pay off she got.

The EDP is trying to obtain information from Breckland about the impact on council tax payers under the Freedom of Information Act.

Yesterday's news about Ms Hellard's swift appointment to a new post is certain to raise many more questions among Breckland taxpayers.

When Ms Hellard resigned, a Breckland statement said Ms Hellard had been talking about her career aspirations for "some months."

Yesterday, Breckland solicitor John Chinnery said he had not been aware Ms Hellard had been appointed to the job in Bradford.

But he added: "We were aware she was looking at other positions. Apart

from that we have not got anything to say."

In a statement last night, Tony Reeves, Bradford Council's chief executive, said: "Becky's reasons for leaving Breckland Council were discussed in detail with Becky prior to her applying for the post in Bradford and were also discussed in detail with Breckland Council.

"We are entirely satisfied with the answers received from both parties and as this is a private matter between Becky and her former employer we will be making no further comment."

Ms Hellard - who spent 11 years at Breckland - was one of three senior posts whose positions were confirmed by Bradford Council yesterday.

She will be in charge of finance, legal

and democratic services and human resources.

Bradford Council did not comment specifically on Ms Hellard's appointment but leader Kris Hopkins said: "All three have an excellent track record of delivering high quality services in their current posts. I am confident they will be an asset

to the district and look forward to working with them in the new year."

Mr Tony Reeves described the trio as "top managers."

Ms Hellard could not be contacted by the EDP.

She has previously refused to comment as part of an agreement with Breckland linked to her departure.