A NEW executive director at Coventry City Council has been appointed to fill one of four newly created permanent six-figure salaried top jobs.
Gail Quinton will become executive director for the vast People Directorate covering education, adult social care, community services such as libraries, and child protection, still rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted after the Daniel Pelka tragedy.
She is to replace outgoing Brian Walsh, who two years ago became the council’s inaugral temporary executive director, when he retires in September.
She is currently director of children’s services at Worcestershire County Council.
The newly permanent role commands a salary of up to £125,000 plus potentially a market supplement of up to £15,000.
Just five councillors on the audit committee in May approved the salary package, plus six-figure remuneration for three new director posts in the people directorate, who will work under Ms Quinton.
Council chief executive Martin Reeves, who earns over £200,000, has said the spending was justified to attract the best.
Council executives estimate £500,000 savings would come from the deletion of some assistant director posts.
Conservative councillor Tim Sawdon argued in May there was no need for an expensive permanent executive director in addition to the three new director posts, which he supported.
Labour councillor David Welsh questioned how more top-end salaries could be justified amid a rapid decline in frontline council services and jobs, with government funding expected to be halved by 2017/8. He also called for the council to be more tranparent with the public.
The Coventry Observer revealed last November the council’s top 20 earners were still remunerated around £2.2million between them including pensions – the same as five years ago.
Mr Reeves said in a council statement: “We had an exceptionally strong field of candidates for the role, including senior leaders from across local government, health, central government and the voluntary sector.
“The cross party member appointment panel was very impressed with Gail’s focus on improving children’s services, alongside her ambitions to transform all of our people services to help drive our kickstart programme and ensure Coventry becomes a truly top ten city.
“We are delighted that Gail has accepted this role. It is exciting to have someone of her calibre joining the strategic management board who can hit the ground running and build excellent relationships both across the city council and with external stakeholders locally and nationally.”
Ms Quinton said “I am delighted to be appointed to the post of Executive Director for People.
“My initial experience of Coventry is that it’s a place with people that are ambitious to make a difference to the lives of their residents and communities.
“I’m relishing the chance to be part of that work and am looking forward to taking up my role in September.”
Ahead of that, she will be involved in the recruitment process for the new directors of children’s services and adult social care. The third new directorship – director for education – has already been filled.