Council appoints internal candidate for £145K top job – without interviewing anyone else

City of York Council's West Offices. Photograph: YorkMix

The council is to appoint a new chief on a salary of more than £145,000 a year – who was the only candidate for the job.

Councillors have been asked to approve the appointment of Ian Floyd to the newly created role of chief operating officer.

Mr Floyd has worked at City of York Council for more than a decade and has been acting as temporary chief executive, following the departure of former chief executive Mary Weastell after the local elections in 2019.

He was the only candidate interviewed, according to a council report. It warns councillors that if they do not approve him for the job, the council will “expose itself to legal challenge” and significant costs.

Mr Floyd was interviewed for the job on 1 October by Liberal Democrat councillors Nigel Ayre and Paula Widdowson and Green Party councillor Denise Craghill.

Labour councillor Danny Myers was also due to be on the panel but refused – saying he felt more candidates should be considered for the job.

He told the council: “The confirmation of a single internal candidate means that I (and the Labour group) cannot participate in the appointments process for chief operating officer.

“I have stated at every opportunity the need to have a recruitment process that includes external and internal for this position, and therefore I cannot join the panel this week.”

But trade unions GMB and Unison took part in the interview process, with a spokesperson for each union saying they felt “confident” the correct procedures have been followed.

‘Significant strengths’

Ian Floyd of City of York Council

Councillors will be asked to agree the decision at a full council meeting on Thursday.

Ms Weastell took early retirement in March, with a £400,000 settlement from the council, after being signed off sick since last summer.

It has since emerged that Ms Weastell was taking City of York Council and the council leader, Cllr Keith Aspden, to an employment tribunal.

But that she dropped the case after the six-figure payout was agreed.

The council is now looking to save £81,000 a year, according to reports, which say changing the structure of its senior management team and appointing a chief operating officer rather than a chief executive will lead to savings of £95,000.

“The [interview] panel recommend the appointment of Ian Floyd,” a report for Thursday’s meeting says.

“Following discussion they concluded [he is] ‘Highly suitable, with significant strengths and appointable to the position of chief operating officer.’

“The council will be exposed to legal challenge should there be a decision not to approve the appointment.

“These could include a claim of unfair redundancy selection and / or constructive dismissal. This would result in additional costs to the authority through any claim along with a redundancy payment circa £60,000.”