SKDC refuses to reveal pay-off details for chief executive who has suddenly left the council
The chief executive of South Kesteven District Council, Aidan Rave, has suddenly left the organisation.
The council said on Wednesday that Mr Rave, who joined the council in June 2017, has left to pursue new ventures.
But Conservative and opposition sources have told the Journal there was a “clash of personalities” between Mr Rave and the council’s Tory leader Matthew Lee.
One opposition member said there was “a big row” between the pair a few weeks ago, with another explaining this was why there had been “tensions” ever since.
And the council has refused to comment as to whether he will join a string of senior managers at the council who have left and received pay-offs, saying it was “not appropriate to comment on HR issues”.
However, one cabinet member said he would be surprised if there wasn’t one. Another said he believed an “amicable settlement” of around £75,000 has been made.
One Conservative said Mr Rave was keen to rein back the high spending ambitions of the council’s leadership. An opposition member cited disputes over staff recruitment.
Both sides praised the friendly and approachable nature of their former chief executive and his efforts in leading the council through “a period of change”.
Members of the ruling Conservative group were called to a meeting at 2pm on Wednesday to be told the news, with council staff and opposition members told soon afterwards. The statement was sent to the Journal just before 5pm.
Former Grantham mayor Ian Selby said he was “shocked” by the announcement.
Coun Selby (Unaligned- Grantham Harrowby) described Mr Rave as “an excellent” chief executive.
He added: “As a ward councillor he has been very supportive to me indeed, and as a former councillor himself he understands the role from our perspective.”
SKDC cabinet member Coun Dr Peter Moseley praised Mr Rave for the “phenomenal job” he has done in his two years in turning the council from an officer-run organisation to one run by councillors.
Coun Moseley (Con-Aveland) said: “We have almost the perfect team [of senior management.] We wouldn’t have done it without Aidan’s help.”
Opposition members plan to raise the issue of pay-offs at Thursday’s meeting of the full council, noting SKDC has experienced a near clear-out of senior leaders as part of a restructure and pay-outs relating to this topped £866,000 alone.
Coun Phil Dilks (Ind-Deeping St James) said: “I want to know how much Aidan’s departure will cost the council. This is not the first time. It’s getting pretty expensive. A one-off is okay but this is becoming a regular occurrence. The turnover is very worrying.”
Mr Rave joined SKDC from roles in management consultancy and the charities sector.
Coun Lee was said to be ‘instrumental’ in Mr Rave’s appointment two years ago, though he was supported by all the political groups on SKDC.
Announcing his departure, a council statement said: “The council is very grateful for all of Aidan’s hard work in helping to transform SKDC and wishes him every success for the future.”
It said Paul Thomas, the council’s strategic director, was stepping in as acting chief executive, pending approval by the council and its employment committee, while the process of appointing a successor to Mr Rave was under way.