Tower Hamlets finally appoints Head of Paid Services after legal threats

10:33 12 July 2012

Tower Hamlets council last night finally appointed a temporary head of staff running its £1.2 billion-a-year services after legal threats.

Councillors appointed their communities director Stephen Halsey to look after the Town Hall for the time being until permanent chief executive can be appointed.

They had failed to appoint a chief executive since last September and disagreed on candidates from a shortlist drawn up in April. The authority has been running without a chief at the helm since May when its temporary acting chief executive stepped down.

It led to notices from lawyers last month representing potential candidates for the job threatening to go to the High Court.

Last night was the final chance to fill the legally-required Head of Paid Services post responsible for staff salaries and personnel—before writs could have been served on members.

Mr Halsey will keep things ticking over until October when a new chief executive should take up the reins.

Councillors meanwhile has the task of looking for someone for the £190,000-a-year chief executive job left vacant when Dr Kevan Collins resigned 10 months ago. The contract is likely to run two years to cover the next election for mayor in 2014.

The closed meeting delayed the public session until 10pm, resulting in petitions due to be presented from community campaigners having to be postponed, along with most of the council’s business for debate. Councillors finally left at 11.15pm.

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