COUNCIL bosses in York have brought in a temporary successor for one of their most senior officers as the search for a permanent replacement continues.

Neil Taylor has become City of York Council’s interim director of city and environment services following the retirement of Bill Woolley, who left the post and his position as the authority’s deputy chief executive last week after 16 years.

The council is currently looking to find a permanent replacement for Mr Woolley and has said Mr Taylor – who has previously worked in local authorities in Northumberland, Northamptonshire and Liverpool – could be in the role for up to four months. His recruitment, via executive recruitment firm Gatenby Sanderson, is expected to cost the council about £3,000 a week.

His role will include responsibility within the council for the progress of major development projects in York, such as the Access York congestion-tackling scheme, and transport planning.

A council spokeswoman said: “His recruitment is normal practice and followed standard council processes, and we are content that the recruitment of an interim director represents value for money for York’s residents.

“He brings a great deal of relevant experience which will be crucial to the council in the months ahead.”

She said Mr Taylor’s appointment was necessary to “maintain director-level leadership” in the city and environmental services directorate and that projects such as Access York needed “additional capacity and expertise”, adding: “The recruitment of a permanent successor to Bill Woolley is expected to attract applications from internal candidates and the chief executive and leader of the council wanted to ensure a fair and equal opportunity for all of them.

“Neil Taylor’s costs will fall within the normal market rate for an interim director and will be fully met from existing budgets.”

The council also said Mr Taylor’s contract does not have a specific term, adding that Gatenby Sanderson normally handle interim senior appointments within the authority.