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  • The Rother Alliance

Chief Executive appointed at Rother

At Full Council on Monday 5th October, Malcolm Johnston was appointed to the post of Chief Executive. This follows on from the decision to replace the two former Executive Director posts on Rother with a single post, approved at Full Council on Monday 21st September following an initial paper by the Executive Directors themselves. Former Executive Director Dr Anthony Leonard has now left the council leaving Malcolm Johnston to assume the role of Chief Executive, initially on a one year basis.

The decision by Dr Leonard to leave the council provided an opportunity for these changes which come as part of a need to streamline the authority’s structure and decision making process, creating necessary savings in order to protect staffing levels in the council’s frontline services.

Paying tribute to Dr Leonard, Council Leader Doug Oliver said,

“Tony joined Rother District Council in March 1993 and over the years has overseen the successful delivery of several major projects across the district, along with overseeing a number of service areas. 

“On behalf of the council, I would like to thank Tony for all that he has done and the passion he has had for the area.  I would also like to acknowledge professional & knowledgeable guidance to members over the years.”

The entire process was expertly supervised by experienced local government transformation consultants IESE who ensured the process was open, fair and legal. Claims by the Conservative group that the administration were trying to “get rid of” Dr Leonard were set straight at the meeting on September 21st as the process that led to the report was clarified.

Other claims made by the Conservative group, such as the claim that staff were unhappy with the move or that lots of staff had left because of it were also corrected.

Following open discussions with IESE, the council’s leadership and the executive directors both Unison, who represent staff, and ALACE, who represent the executive directors, said they were satisfied with the plans. The 13% staff turnover, which is comparative with neighbouring authorities, was broken down to show that changes in staff were due to perfectly ordinary reasons such as new career prospects, house moves and retirements.

In an official Rother press statement, Dr Leonard commented that he “thoroughly enjoyed” his time at Rother District Council and had been “delighted” to play a wide ranging role, from securing the financial sustainability of the De la Warr Pavilion to  implementing changes to the waste and recycling services, and more recently working on some exciting projects to regenerate the district and assist with the financial stability of the council.

Malcolm Johnston, who is now Chief Executive, also personally expressed his appreciation for Dr Leonard’s help, support and advice.

The Rother Alliance councillors wish Dr Leonard all the best for the future and will always be thankful for Dr Leonard’s commitment to his role during his time on the council, including the fact Dr Leonard agreed to delay his planned departure in order to assist with covid-19 emergency operations.

Dr Leonard has left a huge legacy and the Rother Alliance look forward to working with Malcolm Johnston to build on that as transformative improvements are made.


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Working together works.

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