The Department of Education’s search for a permanent CEO to head up its new look Longford-Westmeath VEC looks set to drag on following confirmation that the front runner for the position, Colm McEvoy, is to transfer to County Kerry.
Cllr Paul Connell directed the broadside at aspiring applicants for such positions as acting CEO Rosemary Killian Johnston relayed the news to members at this week’s monthly VEC meeting.
Ms Johnston said expressions of interest in the position will now be sought with the wider VEC system’s current crop of permanent chief executives to determine prospective candidates for the post.
Responding to that confirmation on Monday evening, Cllr Connell spoke of the apparent lack of urgency in filling the position.
“They (candidates) can play roulette with us as long as they like. Somebody will want to make up their minds soon because it seems funny how they can hold the whole system to ransom as they so wish,” he said.
The Independent representative was not alone in venting his frustration at the impasse, a feeling which was similarly felt by Cllr Barney Steele and Cllr Peggy Nolan.
“It is sending out the wring signals that this is not an attractive county to locate to,” said Cllr Nolan. “I think that some sort of a decision should be made and made soon.”
Cllr Steele agreed, remarking how Longford no longer seemed a tempting proposition for would-be candidates, a view which wwas given a slightlty more light-hearted appraisal by Cllr John Browne.
“It’s like opening a box of chocolates, the nice ones (vacancies) will always go first,” said the Longford town councillor.
Ms Killian Johnston, in reply, said she was not in a position to shed any further light on when the post would be filled, but said she had spoken with Minister Ruairi Quinn’s department over the issue.
“What they (department) will do now is go back to the agreed arrangements with existing permanent CEOs and look for expressions of interest. That’s what they did with Kerry as Colm McEvoy expressed an interest in going there,” she said of the former Co Cavan VEC chief.
Vice chairperson Gerry Brady however played down fears about any long term difficulties in securing a permanent office holder, saying education officials would address the matter at the earliest opportunity.