Attwood takes legal advice on council jobs

LOCAL Government Minister Alex Attwood is taking legal advice to ensure the recruitment process for top posts in the proposed new ‘Derry City and Strabane District Council’ is legally robust and proper.

The Sentinel recently reported that the new Derry City and Strabane District Council will run in tandem with pre-existing Londonderry and Strabane local authorities from mid 2014 until April 1, 2015, and will be entrusted with a range of powers including those of striking rates and naming the new body.

The current Limavady borough Council will also run alongside the proposed new Causeway Coast and Glens District until the new system is bedded in.

Sharon O’Connor is the current Chief Executive of Derry City Council, Liam Flanigan the current Chief Executive of Limavady Borough Council and Daniel McSorley the Interim Chief executive of Strabane District Council.

Given the reduction from 26 to just 11 councils across Northern Ireland there is likely to be keen competition for Town Clerk and Director positions.

Mr Attwood stated: “No final decision has been taken on the method of appointing the Chief Executives of the new 11 Councils.

“Discussions regarding the underlying principles and timings for competitions for senior staff are being taken forward within the implementation structures I have established.

“I expect to receive recommendations shortly and to settle the issue quickly. I am taking legal advice on the matter to ensure that the course I adopt - and I have a clear view on what should the right course - is legally robust and proper.”