AFTER its inability to appoint a new chief executive, Borough of Poole has decided to defer recruitment for nearly 18 months.

This will go well beyond the election in May next year which may resolve the current hung council.

However councillors have also agreed to take on a new permanent strategic director to work on regeneration and economic development.

A meeting of full council decided, behind closed doors, to continue the interim arrangement adopted when previous chief executive John McBride retired at the end of March.

Strategic directors Andrew Flockhart, pictured right, will remain interim chief executive and head of paid service and Jan Thurgood will act as deputy and assume chief executive responsibilities for adult social care, children’s services, housing and community safety until November 30 2015.

Two rounds of recruitment took place earlier in the year but no candidate was appointed to the £135,000 post.

Leader of the council, Cllr Elaine Atkinson, said: “The role of chief executive is vitally important and we remain firmly committed to recruiting the right candidate to take forward the council’s ambitious programme for Poole.

“The interim arrangements put in place following John McBride’s retirement at the end of March have worked well and offer continuity and stability during this period of change and financial challenge for the council.

“We are very pleased that Andrew Flockhart and Jan Thurgood will be working with councillors to lead the delivery of the council’s ambitious programme of work for the period up to and beyond the local elections next year. This includes important work with partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors.”

She added: “A new council will be elected in May 2015 and it is entitled to make decisions about its direction and priorities. This will shape the plans for the kind of chief executive it wishes to recruit.”