Friday, December 12, 2008

Busy, busy

There's been a lot about Fairtrade in my diary this week, but the highlight was a visit to the Tristar Carbon Savers' meeting. Along with their commitment to saving on carbon emissions at work and at home they are interested in other ethical and environmental issues including Fairtrade. So along I went to tell them a bit about the work in the Borough and suggest ways they might get involved. My inbox has been fizzing ever since - they're so keen to come up with suggestions for Fairtrade Fortnight that we'll have a great time even if we only implement half of them. My difficulty is going to be to ensure that we only take on those things we can cope with. But watch this space for progress!
Today is the deadline for sending in the editorial items for the Borough Fairtrade directory which is to be published in February. It's the first time we've done a glossy, professional one and trying to make sure that catering establishments send us the right material on time has been an interesting exercise. It's coming in now and I'm hopeful that I'll get it all out on time tonight.
Wednesday evening and Thursday were taken up with the appointment process for the new Chief Executive of Stockton. There was a very strong field which we whittled down to a short list of 4 over a period of more than a month. They spent Wednesday being grilled by members, stakeholders including the local press, the PCT, Fire & Rescue, Police and voluntary bodies and having a long session with the Leader of the Council. Then all members were invited to meet them informally over a buffet supper. That gave an opportunity to see how they coped with meeting people for the first time without a structured agenda and proved very interesting.
Yesterday we had the formal interviews and the final decision to make. It wasn't easy but in the end I believe we chose the best for Stockton. The decision was unanimous, which isn't a bad sign when every party on the council except for the Billingham Independents were represented and they'd had their chance to feed into the process the day before. This isn't the place to express my views on the unsuccessful individuals. Suffice to say that it was a long tough process and we're all confident that we've got a good man in place. The remainder of the Cabinet who were not part of the interview panel have to ratify our decision but I can't see that they'll object.
So, congratulations Neil. It's very satisfying that we have such high calibre officers in the council who can stand against the best applicants in the country and win. It's probably very wicked of me to say the name before the official press release goes out but such things can be notoriously slow and all council members have been notified this morning. I'm sure there have been some comments over the breakfast table and that word is spreading fast especially as it wasn't marked confidential.

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