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.

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