‘We need a new chief executive by May’

Richard Harbord ENGEMN00120130225190352 ENGEMN00120130225190352
Richard Harbord ENGEMN00120130225190352 ENGEMN00120130225190352

Opposition leaders have said a new chief executive should have been in place in time for the May election after the resignation of Richard Harbord.

Mr Harbord announced he was stepping down during a meeting of the leaders of the political parties last Tuesday.

In a statement Mr Harbord said he had ‘struggled with mounting family health issues for some time’, adding he felt unable to give Boston ‘the support it needs’.

He said: “I shall be very sorry to leave Boston but I am sure everyone will appreciate my difficult situation.”

Surrey-based Mr Harbord was employed as a short term troubleshooter in 2009, however his £121,500-a-year 15-day-a-month contract was extended until 2015 in November 2012.

Labour leader Paul Gleeson said his party understood the reasons for leaving and said he had been a ‘very competent and safe pair of hands’.

However, he said the council should have employed a full-time chief executive in 2012 instead of extending Mr Harbord’s temporary deal and now fears the council could be left with a new administration and inexperienced chief executive after the 2015 elections.

He said: “We could end up with a situation where a brand new council could come in having no chief executive in post and we just don’t think that would do any Boston any good.”

Council leader Peter Bedford said the resignation was ‘a great loss’ adding it ‘comes at a difficult time as we approach an election’.

He said: “I am grateful to Mr Harbord for all he has done for the council over the last five years.”

Mr Harbord’s resignation took immediate effect, however, he will still be working on a few final projects.

Deputy chief executive Phil Drury will take charge until future arrangements are debated.