New council chief named

IAN CLARKE An officer with 28 years' experience in senior local government management has been appointed chief executive at Breckland Council until a permanent successor is found for Becky Hellard.

IAN CLARKE

An officer with 28 years' experience in senior local government management has been appointed chief executive at Breckland Council until a permanent successor is found for Becky Hellard.

Keith Davis has been deputy chief executive at the authority since April 2005 and first took the helm while an investigation was carried out into “issues surrounding” Ms Hellard.

She resigned last week and today it was announced Mr Davis had got the top job until May.

It will allow the recruitment process for a new long-term senior officer to be carried out.

Mark Stokes - who has worked his way up through the ranks at Breckland as admin assistant - has been appointed deputy chief executive.

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The post is also until May and Mr Stokes said he was “over the moon” with his promotion.

“It is an absolute honour for me. I have lived in the Dereham area virtually all my life and know the area extremely well.”

He has been director of transformation and will continue to lead Project Create, the council's programme to transform services and increase trading and income generation activities.

Mr Davis has had a series of senior local government roles as deputy and assistant chief executive in councils in the North East and London.

During his time at Breckland he has introduced a number of major new initiatives including a council wide management and personal development programme, Investors in Excellence.

Breckland leader William Nunn said: “We are very pleased to secure Keith's services to ensure continuity for the council and to build on our success as a high performing council with the lowest council tax in the country.”

Mr Davis said: “I believe that meeting our customers' expectations is essential to the council's success. My experience from across the country will be invaluable to me in bringing fresh insights into how Breckland can work putting our customers first.”

It remains unclear why Ms Hellard was investigated by Breckland and whether council tax payers' money was involved and the EDP has submitted a request under the Freedom of Investigation to probe a range of unanswered questions.