Audit Commission suspends hunt for new boss after government vetoes pay package

The Audit Commission has suspended its search for a new chief executive after the coalition government vetoed the proposed £240,000 pay package.

The commission abandoned plans to appoint a new boss after communities secretary Eric Pickles said the remuneration deal on offer was “against the spirit” of austerity in public sector spending, the Telegraph has reported.

Michael O’Higgins, chairman of the Audit Commission, said that its board had taken the decision in the light of “rapidly changing circumstances” such as a cut in the commission’s grant and next week’s Emergency Budget, the newspaper said.

Interim chief executive Eugene Sullivan will now remain in the position “for the foreseeable future”, the commission said yesterday.

Sullivan had filled the post in a temporary capacity since March, following the resignation of Steve Bundred.

The Audit Commission, which oversees local public services, said it had suspended the recruitment process “given the government’s views on senior salaries in the public sector”.

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