SIC convener Sandy Cluness said today he was happy with progress on recruiting a new chief executive for the local authority and is hopeful that a “high quality” candidate will be able to be appointed within a month.
Councillors agreed two weeks ago to ask local government umbrella body Cosla to begin head-hunting, appointing a seven-member panel headed by Mr Cluness to carry out the interview process.
The panel – made up of the convener, Florence Grains, Robert Henderson, Bill Manson, Gary Robinson, Cecil Smith and Allan Wishart – held its first meeting and conferred with Cosla chief executive Rory Mair by video conference this morning.
In a short statement this afternoon, Mr Cluness said: “It is good to see this moving ahead promptly. We are optimistic that we will identify a number of high quality candidates for this important role.”
The panel will now meet on a regular basis, with input from Cosla and its professional advisers, to try and ensure a swift appointment. The statement said it was “hoped” that a recommendation could be made to the Full Council in early May. Once the panel of seven councillors has conducted interviews with candidates, all 22 councillors will have their opportunity to have their say on the matter before a final appointment is made.
The search for a replacement for recently-departed chief executive David Clark, who left the SIC with a controversial £250,000 pay-off in late February, is likely to be focused at least partly on retired chief executives from other local authorities.
Councillors agreed to look for a candidate willing to take the £97,000-a-year post on an interim basis to carry the SIC through until six months after the next set of elections, which will be held in May 2012.