Wednesday, 8 April 2009

National award for controversial temporary council officer

THE work of West Somerset Council’s controversial temporary chief officer Dr Jack Neal has been recognised with a national award from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE).
Dr Neal’s appointment hit the headlines because he was costing £3,500 a week at a time when the council was already in a financial crisis after Independent councillors took control from the Conservatives at local elections.
The council had lost its chief executive and deputy chief executive in quick succession after the coalition of Independent councillors began running the authority.
Dr Neal, aged 61, who lives near Honiton, Devon, was given a temporary contract to try to turn around the management of the council.
Now, his work has been recognised at the prestigious SOLACE interim manager of the year awards, held in Claridge’s Hotel, Mayfair, London.
He received the runner-up award in the strategic management category.
West Somerset economic development portfolio holder Councillor Michael Downes said: “It is no mean feat given that we are a small council and the winners came from larger London authorities.
“I am delighted that the work he did with us has been acknowledged.
“He has fantastic management skills and I am pleased these have been recognised on a national scale.”
Adrian Dyer, who has since become the council’s chief officer with the title executive director, said: “I am absolutely delighted for Jack.
“He is an inspirational manager and excellent problem-solver who is not phased by anything.
“I have learned a lot from him, and the council as a whole has seen marked and lasting improvements thanks to his help.”
  • Our photograph shows Councillor Michael Downes (left) and Dr Jack Neal. Photo submitted.

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