An open letter to the Acting Chief Executive


Dear Geoff Raw 

Congratulations on your appointment to acting Chief Executive.


Unison shares your concerns regarding the challenges facing local government and notes your recognition that “this is a difficult period of uncertainty and concern for many.” One of the main concerns for staff at this Council is the manner and cost of your predecessor’s leaving. In order to address those concerns and, as you state, “…(make) the best of the situation before us…” Unison asks that you please clarify the following issues;


• Staff are told that the Council’s values are “… relevant to everyone in the council, at every level and in every department.” Those values are Respect, Collaboration, Efficiency, Openness, Creativity and Customer Focus. Of those values only the last two were not broken during Penny Thompson’s leaving. Can the expensive training to Live Our Values Everyday be justified any longer?

• Despite the role of Chief Executive being politically impartial, it is now common practice for local authorities to replace Chief Executives with every change in administration. In order to ensure that large pay outs do not become a recurring drain on the public purse, will this Council introduce fixed term contracts for Chief Executives?

• What impact will the total costs of Penny Thompson’s settlement and the next Chief Executive’s replacement have on jobs and services?

• Public accountability is central to any properly run local authority. Where are the mechanisms of accountability and monitoring of senior management?      


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