A fire union is pleased Cheshire chief fire officer Paul Hancock will soon focus solely on running the county fire service instead of being divided between here and Cumbria.
Mr Hancock, who earns £155,890, has been joint chief fire officer for both counties since last April but says he gets no extra salary for the two days per week he spends up there.
However, the fire authority receives a £60,000 financial contribution from Cumbria.
A former assistant chief fire officer for Cumbria, Mr Hancock agreed to help sort out ‘a few little issues’ in an arrangement which was due to be reviewed after 12 months.
His association will now end in July, once Cumbria has appointed a new full time chief fire officer.
Andy Fox-Hewitt, secretary of Cheshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) suspects Mr Hancock ended his association following pressure from the union but this is denied.
He said: “Given the issues Cheshire Fire Service faces with funding and the concerns that the FBU have raised in terms of lack of adequate fire cover and the increases in injuries, deaths and attendance times, we are pleased to see that chief fire officer Hancock is now returning to commit his full-time to addressing the issues the fire service faces.”
Mr Hancock, who is originally from Kendal and served for 22 years with Cumbria before joining Cheshire in 2007, said in a statement: “I will complete my shared CFO assignment with Cumbria at the end of July when the process to appoint a full-time CFO for Cumbria has been completed.
“The shared CFO arrangement with Cumbria was for a 12 month period (commencing April 2016). This has been extended by four months (April to July 2017) to accommodate my involvement in the recruitment and selection of a full-time CFO for Cumbria.”
Asked whether he had come under pressure from the fire authority and the FBU to concentrate solely on Cheshire, he replied simply: “No”.