Lincolnshire County Council reactions to departure of chief executive Keith Ireland

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The outgoing Chief Executive of Lincolnshire County Council Keith Ireland had the “full confidence of the appointments committee” when he was hired.

Chairman of the Committee Councillor Rob Parker has confirmed the group met yesterday when the decision was officially announced and are being provided with legal advice.

He refused to comment further on Mr Ireland’s departure after only four months in the post, but when asked about the committee’s decision to hire him said: “He was one of three candidates, he had the full confidence of the appointments committee.”

Executive Councillor for Economy Colin Davie also provided a brief comment.

He said: “The statement as issued yesterday sums up the situation. However, the time I spent with Keith Ireland, I liked the man, I thought he was, in the true nature of the word, a different chief executive to the one we had in Tony McArdle.

“It’s a sad thing but as the statement said it’s by mutual agreement and we move on and continue the journey.”

Mr Ireland is the third chief executive to fall out of favour with county council leaders since 1998.

That year saw the first Conservative leader since 1993, Cllr Jim Speechley, and then CEO Jill Barrow – the first woman chief executive of a county council in England.

This was followed by CEO David Bowles, who was fired in 2004 by Cllr Ian Croft in a breach of code of conduct for people in public office, for which he was later banned from being a county councillor for 15 months.

It is unclear whether Mr Ireland was fired, or if he voluntarily stepped down.

A joint statement with authority leader Councillor Martin Hill, said the pair “do not share the same approach to a number of important issues” and that “parting of the ways is the best way forward for both of us”.

When Mr Ireland was announced in May, his position came with a £170,000 salary. Previous CEO Tony McArdle retired after more than 12 years in the role.

Daniel Jaines , Local Democracy Reporting Service