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Secret meeting will consider chief’s early retirement deal
11:24am Thursday 22nd November 2007 in News
A SECRET meeting of a rarely convened committee will talk through the terms of an early retirement deal for Hereford-shire Council chief executive Neil Pringle.
Last week, the Hereford Times revealed that Mr Pringle was to step down next month, allowing his successor Chris Bull to begin the management re-building recommended by the Crookall Report.
Mr Pringle is known to have been planning his retirement for some time and, next Tuesday, the council's Appoint-ments and Contracts Review Panel meets in secret session to discuss the terms under which he could go.
The panel - made up of Councillors Chris Chappell, June French, Terry James, Bob Matthews and Roger Phillips - will debate a decision taken in secret session by another rarely convened committee - the Compensation (Enhances Payment) Panel - which met last Wednesday in relation to Mr Pringle's early retirement.
Council spokesman Robert Blower said the authority could not comment on the early retirement terms or related discussions.
The Crookall Report highlights the role of the council's director of corporate and customer services, a post with overall responsibility for supervising the ICTCS division, that is currently held by Mr Pringle's wife Jane Jones. Julie Holmes, the council's former head of ICTCS who reported directly to Ms Jones, left the authority, after suspension, in July this year with a pay-off and a legally binding agreement not to talk.
As she is no longer employed by the council, Ms Holmes cannot face disciplinary proceedings related to the running of ICTCS and the way contracts were awarded. She had worked for firms tendering for one of the contracts and declared that interest.
Council leader Councillor Roger Phillips was briefed about and approved the two contracts on the evidence put by officers.
Councillor June French, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for corporate and customer services had direct responsibility for elected oversight of the council's IT programme. She backed both contracts on the evidence put by officers.