Bradford councillors disagree on new boss

Kersten England.
Kersten England.
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BRADFORD COUNCIL’S new chief executive, Kersten England, will start this summer after a majority of councillors yesterday backed her appointment.

Labour councillors supported her but nine Lib Dems voted against and 23 Tories abstained.

Lib Dem group leader Jeanette Sunderland believes Ms England lacks the “required skill set, background and experience” to run a council as big and complex as Bradford.

Tory group leader Simon Cooke was happy with the appointment but had concerns about the length of the appointment process.

Ms England is chief executive of York Council and has worked for Calderdale and Bradford councils.

She wants to find “new and innovative ways to tackle the challenging issues” in Bradford, she said. She worked for Bradford between 1993 and 2005.

The Bradford job is one of the highest-paid in local government.

Ms England replaces Tony Reeves, who left the city last year after eight years in the job to take up a role with accountants Deloitte.

His pay, including salary, pension contributions and expenses, at Bradford was reported by the Taxpayers’ Alliance in 2012 to be £227,234, though the figure was disputed by the council.

In 2003 the Bradford authority was criticised for offering a £200,000 salary package to its incoming boss - £25,000 more than then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. The figure made the Bradford post holder the highest paid council chief executive in Britain at that time.

Ms England’s salary is reported to be £71,000 more than her previous post in York.