BREAKING NEWS: Northampton Borough Council's £135k-a-year chief quits

David Kennedy has handed in his notice at Northampton Borough Council.
David Kennedy has handed in his notice at Northampton Borough Council.

The chief executive of Northampton Borough Council who was roundly criticised over his handling of the £10.2 million Sixfields loan has handed in his notice, the Chron can reveal.

David Kennedy, who was last reported to be on a £135,000-a-year wage at the authority, has sent an email to staff at the Guildhall stating his intention to step down.

Mr Kennedy pictured at his last public event.

Mr Kennedy pictured at his last public event.

The circular email, leaked to the Chronicle & Echo, reads: "I am writing to let you know that I have today handed a letter of resignation to the leader of the council.

"I have very proud (sic) to have worked for Northampton Borough Council and to lead such an incredibly talented and committed team in Northampton. Everything that has been achieved in the last ten years is down to the hard work of you, the staff employed by the Council, and I wish every one of you the best going forward under new leadership.

"Councillor Nunn intends to enact the provisions of the pay policy to pay me in lieu of notice, therefore my last working day in the office will be Friday the 28th July.

"People who work in the public service and hold the values of public service are exceptional. You help communities and the public, especially the most vulnerable in society, in a wide range of very important ways. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your efforts for the borough council."

David Kennedy was forced to make a public apology for his role in drawing up the provisions of the £10.2 million loan to Northampton Town Football Club.

Auditors Pricewaterhousecooper levelled serious criticisms at the chief executive when the firm released its damning November 2016 report.

Among a catalogue of failings, it found the authority’s cabinet were asked to approve the loan weeks before independent legal advice was sought from experts; checks on the progress of the stadium involved little more than a drive past in a car and officers were pressured to rush through paperwork for the loan.

In a statement released at around 12.35pm, Mr Kennedy said: “I have been proud to serve the public of Northampton for the last decade. I have concluded that the time is right for someone else to lead the Council’s excellent and committed staff. I want to thank all those who have worked with me and supported me since 2007 and wish them well in the future."

David Kennedy has been at the borough since 2007, but a council spokesman has confirmed the outgoing boss will not be receiving a golden goodbye.

"Mr Kennedy’s resignation is not the subject of any termination payment, pension enhancement or settlement agreement," he said.

Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Sally Beardsworth (Kingsthorpe) said: "He has been with us for 10 years now and I think it was time for a change.

"I think it does get rid of some of the baggage that David Kennedy was carrying around with him, particularly the Sixfields loan.

"I think it has been working towards this for a while. He didn't seem to have the same enthusiasm he did at the beginning.

"Things were difficult for him to stay.

"But I wish him all the best for the future."

Leader of the borough council, Councillor Jonathan Nunn (Con, Nene Valley) said it would be innaproprriate for him to comment on the resignation of a council officer.

He said: "We have a firm policy with regard to personnel issues and it would be inappropriate for me to make comment, other than to confirm that Mr Kennedy has resigned after ten years’ service to the council and will depart on July 28.”