Battle to appoint new chief executive to run Tower Hamlets’ �1.2bn budget

Tower Hamlets council tonight will be at the centre of a row over appointing a new chief executive to run the authority’s annual �1.2 billion budget.

A joint panel of councillors and executive mayor Lutfur Rahman, whose decision has to be unanimous, has failed to accept anyone on the shortlist to take over the job after Dr Kevan Collins left last year, it is believed.

The full council tonight was due to vote on the recommendations of the appointments panel which met on April 23—but the committee failed to agree on any candidate, it is understood.

Normally, only the panel would have the power to select a successor to Dr Collins. It is expected that it won’t accept an executive officer recommending an appointment from a list that no-one endorced.

The vote on the panel’s report, which is part of the quasi-judicial process under employment law, is being taken behind closed doors at the end of tonight’s council meeting when press and public are excluded.

The executive does not have the power to over-rule the panel in the event of a stalemate and appoint its own candidate, say councillors, but can throw out any recommendations and start again. This could lead to the job of chief executive having to be readvertised.

Meanwhile, acting chief executive Aman Dalvi has been in the driving seat since September, when Dr Collins left after just two years in the top job and previously three years as Head of Tower Hamlets Children’s Services.

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Dr Collins declared when appointed to his �190,000-a-year post in 2009 that he was “here for the long haul” and was looking forward to the 2012 Olympics heading one of the five ‘host’ boroughs.

But he was lured away just 10 months short of the Games to head an education trust.