Lancashire

Row at Lancashire County Council as £200k job has one applicant

Angie Ridgwell Image copyright Lancashire County Council
Image caption Angie Ridgwell has been Lancashire's interim chief executive since January

A row has broken out at a council after only one person applied to be the authority's £200,000-a-year chief executive.

Angie Ridgwell, who has been doing the job at Lancashire County Council on a temporary basis for almost a year, is the only applicant, it has emerged.

Her predecessor Jo Turton left in a management shake-up last year.

The Labour opposition has quit its part in the appointments process in protest at an absence of external applicants.

However, the Conservative council's leader Geoff Driver dismissed the move as an "irresponsible and entirely pointless gesture".

Labour group deputy leader John Fillis said: "This is a £200,000 job, with extras on top, yet only one person has applied from the whole of the country.  

"What does that say about the reputation of this council?"

'Serious financial mess'

The post has a salary at least £50,000 more than the Prime Minister is paid.

Last year's restructure of the authority's most senior staff, saw the chief executive role merged with the head of finance, a post known as the section 151 officer.  

Ms Ridgwell took up the job on an interim basis for 12 months in January.

Mr Driver admitted the structure at County Hall was "not common" among other councils, but claimed it was the only way of getting the authority out of the "serious financial mess" it was in when the Conservatives retook control in May 2017.

Last week it was revealed that the council's financial position was "at a tipping point", according to its auditors.

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