The interim chief executive of Allerdale Council is set to stay in the role on a permanent basis.

Former corporate director Andrew Seekings stepped up on December 12 after the outgoing chief executive, Ian Frost, left the authority by mutual consent the previous month.

Mr Seekings was initially appointed on a temporary basis until the end of this year but deputy leader Mike Johnson proposed this week to make his position permanent as he had achieved all of the objectives set to him early.

Councillor Johnson said: “I have no hesitation in asking this panel to recommend that council confirms Andrew Seekings' permanent employment as chief executive and head of paid service at Allerdale Council."

The proposal was put forward at a meeting of the chief officer’s employment panel on Monday, with three of the five people on the panel – Mike Johnson, Alan Smith and Marion Fitzgerald – voting in favour of the motion.

Councillors Nicky Cockburn and George Kemp voted against the decision due to concerns it would send the wrong message to the public.

Coun Cockburn said: "I think we should have stuck with the original decision that was made at full council in December."

Both councillors questioned why the decision was being made early and Mr Seekings' salary would be increasing.

Coun Kemp added: "I think during these really financially trying times it is a bit disappointing.

"What will the general public feel about our chief executive going right to the top of his pay scale when he hasn't even finished his trial interim period?"

Coun Smith agreed with the deputy leader's move and said he had "no qualm whatsoever" with him being appointed early and moved up the pay scale.

He said Mr Seekings had achieved what he had been asked to do despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.