The process can be manipulated in several ways, but the easiest is simply to exercise delegated powers to parachute in a protegé without having to advertise a post and put a shortlist of candidates in front of elected councillors who might, heaven forbid, have ideas of their own.
The best known example of this is the current acting Head of Law and Administration, Mrs Linda Rees Jones, who has been acting almost as long as Dame Maggie Smith. As we saw recently, eminent lawyer Sir David Lewis is not exactly a fan. The quality of legal advice being served up is "cavalier at best and incompetent at worst", he wrote.
So while a draft of the Governance Panel's report has apparently been circulated to a very small audience, there is just time to rush through a few more appointments and parachute in another protegée before any new regime is ushered in.
Descending under a canopy of the finest silk is Ms Wendy Walters, currently Head of Economic Development. Ms Walters may not be a household name, but she is a key player in the council's controversial regeneration programme where she has helped bring many a white elephant into the world.
Ms Waters is married to a director of WRW Construction, one of the council's preferred partners. Major WRW projects include Ffos Las and North Dock, as well as various school building and refurbishment schemes for the Council.
Talking about work is no doubt strictly off limits in the Walters household.
Chief Executive’s Department
Following the departure of Mr Chris Burns, Assistant Chief Executive ( Customer Focus & Policy) I should like to introduce an interim ‘acting up’ arrangement which will allow for the continuity of service provision until such time that I have had the opportunity to consider the current structures that are operational within my department. I consider that this interim arrangement will provide a significant opportunity for better alignment and efficiency savings in a number of service areas. This will be essential to meet the financial and service pressures the Council faces over the coming years. It will also lead to an immediate financial saving of circa £90k per annum in senior management costs. Therefore under the delegated powers afforded to me under the Scheme of Delegation within the Council’s Constitution, I recommend the following to the Appointments Committee ‘B’:
Recommendation: To confirm that Ms Wendy Walters, the current Head of Economic Development, undertake an acting-up role of Assistant Chief Executive ( Customer Focus and Policy) on an interim basis, pending the outcome of a structural review.