Search Begins For New Chief Executive For Council

philip hygate P&R meeting 2The islands’ Council is without a chief executive this morning following the announcement that Philip Hygate is to take retirement with immediate effect.

The man who has been the Council’s head since 1992 has been away from his desk since October 30th.

That’s when he was suspended following a four-and-a-half hour Council meeting that considered a number of allegations against him. Mr Hygate has denied them all.

Calls for a judicial review into the legality of the process that led to his suspension didn’t materialise.

Negotiations over an exit package for the chief continued with the support of the majority of Councillors, but Mr Hygate chose early retirement, an option following his 55th birthday this week.

We understand that Mr Hygate, who earned £89,000 a year, will be paid one year’s salary including pension contributions, his removal expenses to the mainland, and he will stay in his Council home, which comes with the job, until the end of March.

His legal fees will also be paid.

From Radio Scilly

Council Chairman Mike Hicks talks to Radio Scilly about the next steps

There are restrictions preventing Mr Hygate working with named organisations that work with the islands’ Council, should he wish to seek employment in his retirement.

He had sat on the national AONB board and represented Scilly on the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Staff were informed by email yesterday that their boss was retiring.

Chairman of Council Mike Hicks has had to step away from the issues surrounding Philip Hyate’s suspension as his daughter-in-law made written allegations.

Initially, Mr Hygate’s advisors had pushed for a significant financial settlement but Mike says in the end, it was an agreement that suited all parties and limited the costs to the Council taxpayer.

Recently the relationship between the chief exec and Council chairman has become difficult. Mike says before Mr Hygate was put on gardening leave, he told the chief exec he couldn’t work with him.

So what will happen next?

Mike says he wants a ‘night-watchman’, to look at all the Council’s processes. He says Scilly’s needs are unique and he rejects suggestions that the islands should be run by Cornwall Council.

He says a fresh pair of eyes would be important in the short term and he wants to appoint a locum before a permanent appointment is made.

Mike has had names suggested and will need to talk to members about filling the position this week.

It’s likely that the Local Government Association will offer suggestions of who to take on temporarily. He says there’s no timeline for the recruitment of a full time chief and that no current senior Council managers have put themselves forward for the CEO role as yet.

In the meantime, Mike says it’s business as normal. The deputy chief executive Neville Gardner is currently the most senior officer in the Town Hall and Mike says if there was an emergency then Neville would be “the prime mover.”

Council insiders say Mr Hygate’s goal was to be the longest serving chief executive in local government. That ambition will not be realised now.

In a statement, Mr Hygate said: “It has been a privilege to be part of such a special place and to have contributed to securing its well-being and potential. I wish Scilly the best for the future.”


15 Responses to Search Begins For New Chief Executive For Council

  1. Colin Carruthers January 14, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Bear in mind that a Chief Executive’s remit is supposed to be to offer legal advice to Council, and also act as an advisor for them, to guide them to the best decisions possible.

    It’s fair to say, without being unfair to Mr Hygate, that the exchange of ideas was not happening anymore. It may also be fair to say that he fiddled while Rome burned, like sorting out a royal visit when he should have been totally absorbed in the Route Partnership, and perhaps keeping a keener eye on the school, or the state of the runway, or the Members of Council who were drifting away from him. He should also had paid attention to his leave entitlement which was growing to massive proportions, silly thing, forgetting about that lump sum waiting to hit us around the head in the near future….

    We need to be mindful of appointing someone who we can trust, who we can talk to, who will be honest with all members at all times. Track records mean nothing here, we’re not like any other authority, their contacts and close political allies shrink away when you move here, we’re not going to make any public figure look good. We’re a high maintenance, high cost distraction, with very little gain for them.

    What we need to avoind is picking someone because they say the things that some people want to hear. Words like ‘sustainable’, or ‘dynamic’, for example, beware of the bullsh*t bingo people, there will be people looking to take us for a ride and take the cash and nice house.

    Some of the home truths will be hard to hear, but we must hear them, and we must start to consider changing. Change is painful but so necessary. We stagnated, we relied on ‘tradition’, but failed to understand what tradition actually is. Tradition was just the way things were done back along in order to survive. Now it’s our turn to start our own traditions, and do what we must do in order to survive.

  2. Nobby Nobbs January 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Interestingly the council have decided to allow the full council to see the Wibley report a week after Hygate resigns.
    Is this coincidence?
    Is there damming evidence in the report that forced Hygate’s hand?

    Come on council, let everyone see the report, and put this thing to bed once and for all. After all it was my taxes that paid for this report

  3. Todd Stevens January 14, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    If Neville Gardner wants this job then he would have to take stock of past failings and change the way things were done whilst under Mr Hygate. Clearly, that way wasn’t any good for this community. In fact, anyone who worked for soooo long under the Hygate regime shouldn’t get the job-WE DONT WANT THE SAME OLD SAME OLD. We need a new direction completely. A clean slate with new ideas. Someone who does NOT have preconcieved ‘views’ on anyone here.

    A fresh start please Councillors!?.

    • Katie F January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Another article on this site says that no incumbent officers have expressed an interest in the job as yet, and I think that any of them who would want it would be off their rocker – Neville included. In fact, I’d be surprised if any one qualified and capable of taking on this sort of role would be prepared to come and work on the islands given the way that we’re all behaving at the moment.

      I’m going to work under the assumption, on another note, that you’re not being hypocritical and judging anyone under preconceived ‘views’ though Todd?!

      • Todd Stevens January 17, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        You completely misunderstand me Katie. I am not talking about ‘all’ council workers. 99.9 percent are fine and try to be professional in what they do and earn respect by treating everyone fairly and equally.

        • Samual Vimes cmdr January 20, 2013 at 10:34 am

          You having a laugh?
          Most aren’t qualified to do the job they’re doing.
          And at least half are unnecessary.
          And lets be honest our council is not exactly an example of open, honest efficiency is it.

          The fact that the director of finance claims £18,000 a year in expenses tells you everything you need to know about the council of the Isles of Scilly

          The chairman of the council used to be the chairman of the steamship company. Half the councillors are directors or shareholders of the steamship company

          And how many employees have got a job at the council because of their last name rather than their qualifications?

          While I agree there are ‘some’ decent hard working people in the council, the whole place is an example in how ‘not’ to run a civic organisation..

          Personally I’d close the place down and give the administration to Cornwall cc

  4. Kev Wright January 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Louise Graham: “greater pubic participation”

    That’s an interesting way forward! Count me in!

  5. Louise Graham January 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I am heartened by the news that this new year can be the start of a new chapter in the Islands history.
    We face challenging times over the next few years, but hopefully this can be done with greater pubic participation in decisions that affect us all.
    The time has come for the Island community to consider carefully the options for the future management of the council.
    The new government legislation devolving increased power to local communities and their governance has the potential to increase democracy. This however requires a proactive community who are prepared to voice their opinions yet work together to achieve common goals.
    It has hard to see how this can be achieved given the difficulties and divisions which have blighted the Islands over the past years.
    Hopefully, now, a period of reflection and time to think and talk about the way forward is required. What are the things we value about living on the Islands and how can we ensure the happiness, health and well-being of the community and our beautiful environment? Are these common goals?
    We have the opportunity this year to make some decisions about how we run things in the future. Many councils have opted not to employ chief executives and manage quite well without them.
    As my late father, Roy Graham, used to quote,
    ‘Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely’
    Maybe our councillors can take this time to think about asking the community how they would like to be governed and maybe we could take some time to let them know.

  6. Fran Grottick January 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Although our population is small, we have a Unitary
    Authority, with many responsibilities.
    This series of events gives a good chance for a careful analysis
    of the best way forward.
    Mike Hicks has said he intends to facilitate this, and I am sure he has majority support.
    I hope enough time will be taken to take a measured look
    at all the options for the future.

  7. Graham Coad January 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I think his £89,000 per year wage was too high…. When you condisider the Islands poulation of not much over 2000 head, the “Chief Executive” position is more like a Parish Clerk’s job.

    Hayle on the mainland, for example has 10,500 pop and our council has a part time Town Clerk, who is NOT on £89K……….

    Think carefully, Scilly…..and good luck!

    Graham coad.

  8. ritchie January 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Do we need a chief exec ? would a full time elected mayor not be a better idea at least every five years we would have the chance to approve or dissapprove on their conduct, and there ar plenty of local people who could do the job. A salary of £60k would attract “the right calibre” of applicant , and they would not need a free house as they would already live here.

  9. Afraid to put my name January 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Diana Mompoloki should be appointed. Someone with real economic foresight and diplomacy skills to make these projects a reality, and sustainable.

    A female CEO would also be a good barrier to break.

  10. Bertie Bassett January 13, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Do we actually need one?

  11. Fred Colon January 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    You’d be really good Nobby,
    you couldn’t be any worse

  12. Nobby Nobbs January 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I’ll do it 🙂