Brentwood Council to be run without a chief executive

Brentwood Council will axe the post of chief executive in the new financial year in moves it says will save the taxpayer thousands of pounds.

The change comes after four years in which Joanna Killian has been the joint chief of both Essex county and Brentwood borough councils.

Announcing the move, Brentwood Council leader Cllr Louise McKinlay said that the borough’s management team is strong enough not to need anyone in the role anymore.

But the leader of the opposition has branded the plan a “u-turn”.

Brentwood’s managing director Alison Crowe will become the most senior council officer on April 1, but she will not be a chief executive.

The councils say that they have saved taxpayers nearly �100,000 a year in salaries by sharing the chief - who was among the highest paid council bosses in the country during her time in the role.

Cllr McKinlay said: “I personally want to express my gratitude to Joanna Killian for the role she has played in bringing us forward to be a considerably stronger council.

Most Read

“It is under her direction that Brentwood now has new management arrangements, a steady financial position and built up a healthy level of reserves, all putting us in a stronger position to continue working smarter and generate savings and value for money for our residents.”

She added that sharing a number of services with Essex, including audit and communications, has saved �1.2m to date.

Joanna Killian said: “The past four years have been very interesting for me.

“Brentwood is a great council that has made strong progress over the past few years and now is a good time for me to take a step back and focus on my responsibilities with the county council.”

Cllr David Kendall, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats on Brentwood Council, and a county councillor, said: “After the Town Hall (demolition) and Lighting Up day, this seems like another u-turn by the administration.

“We were against having a joint chief executive from the day it was proposed and said that Brentwood should have its own chief who knows Brentwood residents.

“There are questions which still need to be answered about this move.”

The council has said Ms Crowe will not receive a chief executive-level salary with her new responsibilities.