New Interim Chief Exec Appointed For Scilly

New interim chief executive, Barry Keel

New interim chief executive, Barry Keel

The Council of the Isles of Scilly has a new interim chief executive.

Yesterday, councillors unanimously agreed to hire former Plymouth City chief exec, Barry Keel, to the position of acting head of paid service and interim chief executive, on a consultancy basis, for a period of six months.

Mr Keel, who is 60, was interviewed by members last week. He has been credited with turning around the Devon authority during his seven years there.

Before he retired last year, he trimmed the council workforce to help balance the books following major budget cuts. Plymouth was awarded the ‘Best Achieving Council of the Year’ award in 2010.

Mr Keel previously spent eight years based in Darlington, where he ran the unitary authority before moving to the South West.

His areas of expertise include regeneration, planning and economic development.

Council vice chairman Amanda Martin says he will be asked to look the current structures and processes of the authority following detailed consultations with councillors and staff.

She said she hopes he’ll take “a long, hard look” at the way the Council operates and make suggestions about how to be much more efficient.

Peter Brookshaw, Plymouth’s Lord Mayor last year, worked with Mr Keel closely for four years as a member of the cabinet.

He’s full of praise, saying Mr Keel is very straightforward, open and honest.

“What you see is what you get,” he said.

Peter thinks he’ll be able to take difficult decisions on staffing and could trim numbers if he had to. Plymouth had a 30% cut in budgets and had to make 4,000 staff redundant, but Peter said Mr Keel went about the difficult process in a very fair and transparent way.

He says Barry isn’t a bully and brings people on board with decisions. “I highly recommend him,” he says.

In a statement, Mr Keel says everyone is having to examine the ways in which we have done things in the past and come up with new and more efficient ways of doing them.

He says it is not an easy task, at times of increasing demand for services and declining budgets.

Mr Keel has holidayed in Scilly previously and lists walking and rugby amongst his interests. He’s expected to take up the role imminently.

12 Responses to New Interim Chief Exec Appointed For Scilly

  1. William Morris April 17, 2013 at 7:51 am

    If concerned local was a member of staff, whom potentially could be affected by the chief execs plans to cut costs, then surely being anonymous would be the sensible thing to do! Boasting about putting YOUR real name up and gaining respect from others who don’t will not, I’m afraid, win my respect for you. I used my real name so eyyy ho.

  2. Concerned local bloke April 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Some light research does beg some questions over his integrity.

    He was paid £210,000 for his CE and Returning Officer duties for Plymouth, whereas his replacement Tracey Lees is being paid £60,000 less per annum for the same duties. It would seem that his efforts to reduce costs at Plymouth did not extend to his own post.

    He also turned down Eric Pickles’ plea for Chief Executive’s to take a 5% paycut, something that even Kevin Lavery at Cornwall agreed to.

    He could, if serious about helping us, charge less. Has he offered to do this? You HAVE to question these people’s motives.

    His remit should be to restructure but should also be taking into account the bigger picture, in that redundancies for local people will mean people spending less locally, and relying more on services provided by the Council that he might also be thinking about cutting. His wider remit must be economic vitality and helping the islands grow and be self-sustaining. Cutting jobs for local people isnt going to help that at all.

    • pat hicks April 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Concerned local bloke !!. Sounds as tho you could be one of the council staff concerned about loosing their job ?? or just want to stir up trouble … and please put your bloody name to your post when you want to nick pick… I would have alot more respect for you if you did. !!. and maybe more understanding..

      • William Morris April 17, 2013 at 7:49 am

        If concerned local was a member of staff, whom potentially could be affected by the chief execs plans to cut costs, then surely being anonymous would be the sensible thing to do! Boasting about putting YOUR real name up and gaining respect from others who do doesn’t, I’m afraid, win my respect for you. I used my real name so eyyy ho.

        • pat hicks April 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

          Hey i did not say everyone respect all who put there names up. and wether they be staff or not.. everyone is intitled to their opinion. and should not be afraid. but after all that has gone on over here. it would be the decent thing to do, people under alias names could be ANYONE so to me what they write really dont mean so much. as to the ones that do. and that is my personal opinion William Morris and i dont know who you are, so i cannot comment as to wether i respect you or not. !!

          • pat hicks April 17, 2013 at 10:36 am

            And i also think we should wait and see how Mr Keel do before we make any JUDGEMENT. !!

  3. Kev Wright March 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

    That criticism will only come if he’s bad at his job. If it turns out he is in fact capable of organizing a pee-up in a brewery then I’m sure he’ll come in for plenty of praise! It will be a difficult time for him but I for one am optimistic and wish him all the best.

  4. yet another islander March 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Very true Kev and I hope that he is but all he has to do is to take a look at these pages to realise the climate he’s coming into. Good luck Mr.Keel!

  5. Kev Wright March 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

    What an ill conceived and defeatist attitude peonie, the new CE might be an honest, skilled man who is good at his job and happy to engage with public concerns. The last CE got flack for good reason. I wish Mr Keel all the best in his role and look forward to a change in the way the council is run from the top.

  6. peonie March 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    poor man I hope he realises what a toxic situation he is walking into, and expects the lack of support and constant critism from the resident population.

  7. Nobby Nobbs March 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    There are so many none jobs at the council, most of which are on incredibly high salary’s of £40k plus for not doing anything of any great importance.

    Personally I hope the cull begins at the top of the technical dept

  8. Fran Grottick March 20, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Welcome, Mr Keel. Best wishes on your new appointment.
    There have been widespread concerns regarding some
    aspects of our Local Governance.
    Council Chair, Vice-Chair, and Councillors deserve thanks
    for supporting this appointment and the subsequent review.
    Hopefully the Islands will be put on a firmer footing as we move forward in these challenging times.