New Council chief may earn £107,500

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The new chief executive of Derry City Council will earn up to £107,500, it’s emerged.

The search is officially now on for the new Council boss with an advertisement for the post appearing in today’s edition of the ‘Journal’.

The new “candidate attraction” process - which is being managed by specialist consultants NDC - follows the failure of a previous attempt to appoint a successor to Valerie Watts, who quit the Derry job to take up a new post in Scotland.

Eight months have now passed since Mrs Watts announced she was stepping down.

The previous recruitment drive earlier in the year - which Council has confirmed cost £18,000 - concluded with no appointment made.

It’s believed 14 people applied for the job and that no more than four of them proceeded to the final assessment stage of the process.

At that time, a local businesswoman branded the failure to appoint a new Council chief as “deeply embarrassing”.

Mary Casey, of Foyleside Consulting, said ratepayers should be demanding that Council “show real leadership” and appoint a new chief as a matter of urgency.

The panel now overseeing the new recruitment process says it wants to see applications from “senior, credible and experienced candidates - people who are at ease with residents, civil servants, colleagues, elected members or the press; who can be forthright about vital change but who can also deploy emotional intelligence when necessary”.

The panel says it doesn’t expect to receive applications from people who would “need to learn major elements ‘on the job’.

Mayor of Derry Alderman Maurice Devenney, writing in the new job application pack, says Council wants to appoint someone who is willing to “play a thoughtful and visionary part in responding to the aspiratione of residents... as we work towards our ambition of being seen as the capital of the North West.”

He adds: “The role of Chief Executive and Town Clerk is fundamental in leading the staff of the Council to deliver the vision that members and partners have developed over the past few years and must be filled by an individual of the highest professional calibre.”

Mayor Devenney informs potential candidates that the Council is “determined to realise the potential of our beautiful city and its community.

“You need spend only a few hours here to see that something very special is happening in the city.”

Longlist interviews for the job are scheduled to take place early next month. This will be followed by two days of “Assessment Centres” and a shortlist process.

The final interviews are then scheduled to take place in early September.

Applications for the post must be returned by July 25.