County Council appoints new CEO

After the debacle of the last few months, common-sense seems to have broken out at County Hall. Somerset County Council today announced that Pat Flaherty has been appointed as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr Flaherty was deputy to Sheila Wheeler and has been acting CEO since the “unfortunate” events surrounding her demise.

The decision was formally approved after a vote at today’s Council meeting. Council Leader John Osman announced the appointment earlier today to staff noting “Pat has impressed us all leading the Council through the biggest disaster this Council has faced.” This we understand to have been a reference to the major flooding, and not the leadership crisis at County Hall over the previous 6 months.

Speaking after the appointment, Mr Flaherty was clearly delighted to be taking on the role: “I am ambitious for our Council, for our staff and for our residents. I want the best we can provide and I will work hard on behalf of everyone to achieve that.” Mr Flaherty takes up the role immediately.

Council Leader John Osman observed that “I have always looked to promote talent from within wherever appropriate.” Having already saved Somerset’s ratepayers a hefty sum by recruiting internally, it will be interesting to see if he is as good as his word when it comes to appointing a deputy CEO. It would be a definite sign of intent if another internal appointment is made, ideally from within the existing executive team. That would have the great merit of reducing executive cost and once more avoiding an expensive recruitment fee.

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