Cheshire fire boss Paul Hancock has agreed to take on a second job – he is now chief of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service as well.
But Mr Hancock, who earns £151,320, has agreed to receive no extra cash for his additional work and responsibility.
Instead Cumbria County Council will pay Cheshire Fire Authority £60,000 in recognition of Mr Hancock’s dual role. The agreement will be reviewed after 12 months.
Split loyalties fear
But Andy Fox-Hewitt, secretary of Cheshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU), is worried the chief officer’s attention will be divided.
He said: “The FBU has some concerns as the fire service is going through a great amount of change. This will require leadership and availability of senior managers who will have to pay close attention to how this impacts on the workforce.”
The move is ‘back to the future’ for Mr Hancock who began his fire service career with Cumbria in 1985 and rose to the position of assistant chief fire officer before leaving to join Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2007.
He said: “I am delighted to be returning to Cumbria as I know the service well and I am looking forward to working with staff whose dedication and commitment I have always admired.
“All public bodies are facing significant financial challenges but I am confident moves to share resources such as this will not only produce savings but also lead to increased resilience and expertise to help improve the safety of all the communities we serve.”
Mr Hancock has been Cheshire chief fire officer and chief executive since 2009 and took over as head of the Cumbria service on April 5 following the retirement of previous incumbent Jim Onions.
In addition to his Cheshire responsibilities, Mr Hancock is also currently president of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association as well as chairing the Cheshire and Warrington Public Service Reform Programme Board.
Cllr Barry Doughty, the Cumbria cabinet member with responsibility for fire, said: “We are delighted to confirm Mr Hancock as our new chief fire officer. He is in a unique position, having a deep knowledge and understanding of the fire and rescue service in Cumbria, extensive experience as a chief fire officer as well as being at the forefront of national discussions on the future of emergency services.
“There are already a number of practical working arrangements in place between the two services and this decision will only strengthen and increase these joint opportunities in the future at the same time as saving us both money.”