Heather Jameson 02 March 2011

Lewisham chief plans part-time retirement

Lewisham LBC chief executive, Barry Quirk, has announced he will go part-time for the next three years, until he retires.

Mr Quirk, one of the longest-serving and most well-respected chief executives in the country, will work the equivalent of three days a week for the council, which is set to save £260,000 over the three year period.

The move is likely to meet with the approval of communities secretary, Eric Pickles, who is increasing the pressure on councils to slash senior pay. He has called on local authorities to share their chief executives, or even scrap the post completely.

The 57-year-old chief executive has been in post for 17 years – and will have completed 20 years before he retires after the 2014 elections. Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, paid tribute to Mr Quirk, and added: ‘I can think of no-one else I would rather work with as chief executive to help us chart our way through the next few years in which we face unprecedented challenge and change.

That’s why I believe the arrangement we have come to is in the best interests of Lewisham.’

The new deal will see the chief executive’s salary cut from £192,387 to £115,432 for a flexible three-day week. Mr Quirk will also be entitled to draw his pension on a reduced basis.

No formal deputy chief executive will be appointed, although the council already has a directly-elected mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, and an assistant chief executive, Kevin Sheehan. Mr Quirk will remain as head of paid service and available for all emergencies within the council.

The new arrangements will be put in place from 1 July 2011, until his retirement in 2014, after the next council elections.

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