A SPECIAL full meeting of the Vale Council has approved arrangements for the flexible retirement of its most senior officer.

Councillors approved the Senior Management Restructure Issues report at a meeting at the Civic Offices, in Barry, on Tuesday, September 2, after Vale Council managing director Sian Davies, who is also director of resources, indicated a wish to retire on November 24 this year.

Ms Davies took over from former Vale Council chief executive John Maitland Evans on August 1, 2012, when she took on the combined role.

Her appointment to the managing director role was approved on an honorarium basis for a three year period up to July 31, 2015 and included statutory designation as the council's head of paid service – with a review due in July.

The report recommended the council approve arrangements for the flexible retirement of the current managing director/director of resources as an interim measure from November 24 this year up to March 31, 2015.

And that delegated authority would given to the head of human resources to progress matters relating to the contractual details pertaining to the flexible retirement arrangement - including referral to the early retirement/redundancy committee - in consultation with the Vale Council leader, Cllr Neil Moore.

The report said the recommendations would ensure compliance with the requirements of the council's constitution, various government acts, and ensure continuity of sustainable management arrangements over the next seven months.

Consideration of the outcomes from the review will be referred for decision by council on December 17.

Councillors heard it was felt the arrangements had proved successful over the last two years and had helped to provide strong and stable leadership while contributing significantly to the required financial saving during 2012/13, but that the combined role was a demanding one and the financial challenges for the council were increasing.

The report said: “The imminent loss of the current post holder comes at a difficult time for the council in terms of the increasing budget challenges, the need for leadership and momentum in relation to a range of challenging work programmes and the continuing uncertainty of local government reorganisation.

“A further and complicating consideration for the council will be the spectre of local government reorganisation. Members will be aware that the Welsh Government is currently seeking a response to the White Paper Reforming Local Government.

“The council clearly has to have regard to the Williams debate as part of any consideration about future senior management arrangements. It is important that the council is not overly distracted by the issue - to the detriment of our own service critical priorities and particularly given the potentially lengthy implementation timescales.”

The report stated the cost of employing an external interim manager over a four month period was estimated to be approximately £65,000 based on a three-day work pattern - less

annual leave - and an estimated daily rate of £1,270.