The chief executive and the chief finance officer at in-crisis Northamptonshire County Council have both resigned.
Councillors received an email from Leader Matt Golby yesterday (July 6) afternoon saying that both officers will be leaving their posts at the end of the month.
The pair have been working under the two commissioners appointed by central government to try and steer the authority out of its current financial crisis.
The email, which was sent by the Tory council leader at 2.21pm, said: “On 27th July Andrew Quincey will be leaving the council.
“Last week he handed in his resignation as interim chief executive and will shortly be taking a new role working on a major construction project in Sydney, Australia.
“Our chief finance officer Mark McLaughlin has also handed in his resignation. Mark has made it clear that as the commissioners are now in post and the recruitment process is under way for a new chief executive, the council is moving into its next phase and therefore it is only right that he steps aside at this time.”
The email thanked both officers for their work in at this ‘tumultuous time’ and also revealed that as they have voluntarily resigned they will not be receiving settlement payments.
Interviews for a new permanent chief executive will take place on Monday (July 9) and the successful candidate will be announced on July 19.
Andrew Quincey took up the post of interim chief executive in April following the resignation of the previous interim chief executive Damon Lawrenson who quit his post in the wake of the damning Max Caller report which condemned the authority for financial mismanagement and poor governance.
Mark McLaughlin joined the authority in December and in February issued a 114 notice, which warned that the authority may not have been able to balance its books.
Their resignation comes as a shock to councillors.
Leader of the Labour group Bob Scott said he was ‘very surprised’ and that he thought both officers had tried very hard.
He said: “Maybe the next phase of cuts that are coming was unpalatable for them.”
Lib Dem leader on the county council Chris Stanbra said he ‘did not really buy’ the reasons for Mark McLaughlin’s resignation and that his going would be a ‘big loss’ to the authority.
Chairman of the finance scrutiny committee Cllr Mick Scrimshaw said: “I think they perhaps realised that the Titanic was already half-way down.”