Temporary CEO could cost Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority half-a-million pounds

The candidate would be asking for payment in the region of £1,300-1,350 per day for their services.

The proposed appointment of an interim CEO at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) could cost taxpayers as much as £582,000 per annum.

The revelation was announced at the resumed AGM meeting of the CPCA, in Huntingdon, this week.

But there has been confusion over how much the new appointment will be paid.

Councillor Anna Bailey (Conservative, leader of East Cambs District Council), quoting a HR officer, said the interim CEO will be paid £582,000 – a figure disputed by councillor Lewis Herbert (Labour, Cambridge City Council).

‘Huge cost’

Speaking to members of the board, councillor Anna Bailey said: “While I was very impressed by the quality of the candidates who came forward at the ‘extraordinary employment’ meeting last Friday (24 June) and particularly the one who was selected.

"We have to note the huge cost of this exercise.

Taxpayers might have to fork out more than £500,000 for a new interim CEO at the combined authority, though there is some confusion surrounding their pay packet.

“We were told that the daily rate for our interim CEO equates to a cost of approximately £582,000 per annum.

“This is a cost that we can ill-afford quite frankly, given the other things that are going on at the CPCA, and is therefore of huge concern.

“But we do need somebody right now. I think we’ve selected a good candidate and I have high hopes that he will be able to come in and make a difference.”

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Confusion over pay packet

Deputy mayor, councillor Lewis Herbert responded: “Mr mayor, I cannot compute the number that councillor Bailey has stated.

" I do think it would be useful if officers advised what that number is.

“A sum of £1,350 times over 300 days becomes that sum but that’s more than the days in the year according to my calculations.”

Councillor Bailey replied the figure of £582,000 was said by the head of HR at extraordinary employment meeting.

‘Moot point’

After the meeting, the discourse on the sums involved continued on social media, with councillor Herbert commenting: “We need a high quality CEO and the amount claimed is factually wrong, as I immediately corrected.

"An amount I had already corrected at an earlier board meeting.

“The maximum payable is way lower, based on the daily rate, even if the appointment were for a full year.”

Councillor Bailey responded by saying: “Whether it’s £430,000 cost per annum or closer to £580,000 per annum – the figure given to us by officers at a previous meeting – is, I think, something of moot point.

“I think you will find that I am the one who is raising the concerns; it is councillor Herbert that seems to believe it doesn’t matter.”

The members of the CPCA Board did eventually unanimously vote to elect the interim CEO as this is a legal requirement for the authority in order to operate but the name of the successful candidate has not yet been made public.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) will announce the successful candidate for the new interim CEO position this coming Thursday (30 June).