Devon council votes to axe joint chief executive

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Image caption The councils have shared their chief executive for two years

A Devon council has voted to axe the chief executive it shares with another authority because of concerns over how far apart the councils are.

For the last two years, Nicola Bulbeck has been running both Torridge and Teignbridge district councils.

Members of Torridge District Council have voted to end the arrangement following a motion by independent councillor Phillip Collins.

Councillor Collins said Torridge should "maybe look at nearer neighbours".

He said: "With these difficult times, and sharing a chief executive and shared services, it doesn't seem that such a distant relationship is suitable for Torridge."

Ms Bulbeck was brought in as shared chief executive as a cost-saving move.

Since the appointment, however, both councils have had a change of leadership.

She will be given three months notice and will continue in her role in Conservative-controlled Teignbridge.

The vote was held at an extraordinary meeting and closed session of the council on Friday evening at Bideford Town Hall.

Concerns raised included the fact that the authorities were on opposite coasts of the county, with no adjoining borders.

Councillor Jeremy Christophers, leader of Teignbridge District Council said: "The secondment gave us the chance to make some savings and see if sharing services across such a distance was practical in the long term.

"Having looked at it closely we're not convinced that longer-term shared services are practical, although there has been a useful exchange of ideas and best practice, as well as cost savings.

"With both sides now building better relationships with authorities closer to home, the time is right to amicably part ways with Torridge, build on the lessons we've learnt and take things forward with nearer neighbours."

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