Russell gets top job

IPSWICH: Borough interim chief executive Russell Williams is set to be given the job on a full-time basis at a salary of �90,000 a year.

Mr Williams took over as interim chief at the end of last year following the sudden death of Jim Hehir – and has impressed staff and councillors by the way he handled the job during a very difficult time.

The council advertised for a new permanent chief executive last month – but Mr Williams was always red-hot favourite to be confirmed in the post.

Council leader Liz Harsant said the interview panel, made up of councillors from all parties at the borough, was unanimous in its choice.

She said: “I am delighted. I have worked closely with Russell over the last few months and I have seen the way he has done a magnificent job in holding everything together during a very difficult time.

“I know everyone wanted him to get the job. But we had to go through the process of interviewing to ensure we got the best possible person – and we have certainly done that.

“I am sure that Jim was looking down and smiling as we appointed Russell.”

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The new chief was an director at the council and before that head of planning.

He lives in the town with his wife Paula, a teacher, and two sons – and sometimes walks to work at Grafton House.

Mr Williams, 38, did not wish to comment before his appointment is confirmed at next week’s borough council meeting, but there is no possibility of any problem with that confirmation.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who has also worked with Mr Williams over the last few months, welcomed the news.

He said: “I am delighted to hear about Russell’s appointment. He has been a magnificent servant to Ipswich and is someone who really understands the value of public service. I am sure he will continue to do a great job.”

n Is Mr Williams’ appointment good for the town? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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