EIGHT councillors are set to interview candidates this week for a new officer role designed to keep Cheshire East Council running smoothly.

A special meeting of Cheshire East Council’s staffing committee will take place on Wednesday to interview shortlisted candidates for the position of director of governance and compliance.

According to the job specification, the new officer will ‘be the chief governance and compliance adviser for CEC – advising the leader, chief executive, executive leadership team, and executive and political groups’.

It adds that the director should ‘ensure sound democratic decision making, good and effective governance, and openness and access to information’.

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The new director will become CEC’s monitoring officer – a statutory role required by law, with responsibility for ensuring the councillors’ code of conduct is followed and making decisions on complaints.

The monitoring officer will also take decisions on the Investigation and Disciplinary Committee process – which has been recently used to investigate officer conduct, including that of former chief executive Mike Suarez, who was suspended in April 2017 and resigned last July.

CEC’s last permanent monitoring officer was Bill Norman, former director of legal services, who resigned in December 2017 after being suspended five months earlier – and the role has been filled on an interim basis since then.

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The job specification also states that the new officer will provide ‘operational and strategic leadership’ to CEC’s legal, governance, democratic, audit and business risk services.

It adds that the successful candidate will ‘provide expert advice and support’ to cabinet and elected members on their areas of personal responsibility.

Cllr Rachel Bailey, leader of CEC, is expected to be at the staffing committee meeting, along with fellow Conservatives Barry Moran, Paul Findlow, Paul Bates and Martin Deakin.

Labour councillors Dorothy Flude and Laura Jeuda are also expected to be on the panel, along with Cllr Mike Parsons, Middlewich First.

The press and public will be excluded from the meeting while the candidates are interviewed.

Details on the director’s salary are yet to be revealed.

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