Commissioner overseeing Northants County Council: “We have a lot of work to do”

Tony McArdle
Tony McArdle

The commissioner in charge of steering Northamptonshire County Council through its troubles has made his first public statement.

Tony McArdle has been appointed along with Brian Roberts to take over the running of the authority on the orders of the Secretary of State for local government James Brokenshire.

Yesterday (Thursday), the highly experienced local government officer, who is getting paid £800 per day, laid out his intentions to the authority’s audit committee.

He said: “We are looking forward to working for and with this council over the next couple of years.

“We have a lot of work to do.

“We need to get to know you as a council and we will be part of the furniture for a little while.”

He added: “We have no fixed view on anything and we are not in a position as yet to give any judgement.”

The duo have many years experience of running large councils.

Mr McArdle ran Lincolnshire County Council for the past 11 years and before that was the chief executive of Wellingborough Council.

Mr Roberts is a former deputy chief executive of Leicestershire County Council and will be overseeing the running of the financial operations.

Mr McArdle said he had the option to ask the secretary of state for more commissioners to come in if they found it was necessary.

The commissioners will both work two days per week and are assisted by another local council expert officer from central government.

They started in post last week after months of speculation and one of the first  moves was to meet with the authority’s cabinet of elected members.

Leader Matt Golby took over from Heather Smith last month.

Mrs Smith had been preceded by long-standing leader Jim Harker who championed the next generation model of creating separate arms length companies which have been heavily criticised in the council’s recent turbulent weeks.