One of the most senior council officials in Brighton and Hove is leaving for a senior civil service post in London.
Dave Kuenssberg, 48, is to leave Brighton and Hove City Council in January to become corporate finance director at the Home Office.
Mr Kuenssberg joined the council three and a half years ago from another government department – the Department for Communities and Local Government – where he was deputy finance director.
As the council’s executive director for finance and resources he had the challenge of balancing the council’s £780 million budget.
This was over a four-year period when a tranche of income – the revenue support grant paid by the government – was cut by £40 million.
The announcement of his departure comes shortly after another widely admired member of the council’s senior team left her post.
Larissa Reed, 46, resigned as the executive director for housing, neighbourhoods and communities in July.
Her colleague Pinaki Ghoshal, 57, has taken over as the interim housing chief, moving across from his post as executive director for families, children and learning at the council.
The council said: “Dave will continue in post until his move to Whitehall.
“After a discussion with Dave’s management team, interim arrangements will be made while a new director is sought.”
Recruitment for a new £137,000-a-year finance director is expected to begin shortly.
The council’s chief executive Geoff Raw said: “Dave has been a highly respected member of the executive leadership team and will be missed by staff and councillors.
“I want to thank Dave for his years of work with our council, including helping to deliver three balanced budgets during the most challenging time for local government.
“He’ll be a hard act to follow and all of us in the executive leadership team wish him the best in his new job.”
Mr Kuenssberg said: “After nearly four years with Brighton and Hove City Council, it’s time to say goodbye. I have thoroughly enjoyed working for the council and am grateful to all staff and councillors for that.
“There are some difficult but exciting challenges facing the country and I hope to help meet these through my new role with the Home Office.
“In my last few months with the council I’ll be working to help deliver the 2020-21 budget and continuing to embed ‘Our People Promise’, the employer offer to staff.
“I’ll be sad to leave the council but I’m not leaving the city. I know that with such talented staff, dedicated to Brighton and Hove, my home town will be in safe hands.”
Council leader Nancy Platts said: “I’ve very much enjoyed working with Dave. He brought with him an honesty and integrity that I really valued, as well as great skill and attention to detail.
“Dave has taken so much care to deliver what councillors have asked of him, all with good grace and humour, even in the most challenging times.”
Councillor Platts added: “I am very sorry to be losing him from the council. I wish him every success in his new job at the Home Office.”
When news of Mr Ghoshal’s switch to become interim executive director for housing, neighbourhoods and communities was shared with staff, Mr Raw said: “Pinaki has been a committed and well respected member of the executive leadership team since 2013 and has impressive knowledge and understanding of our organisation and the priorities of the housing, neighbourhoods and communities directorate.
“His interim appointment brings welcome continuity and an exciting opportunity for members of the families, children and learning directorate management team to step up as acting executive director.”
Mr Ghoshal said: “I’m delighted to be working with my colleagues from the housing, neighbourhoods and communities directorate management team and all their staff.
“I’m looking forward to leading this directorate to deliver our ambitious priorities on homelessness, in-sourcing our housing responsive repairs and maintenance contract, emergency planning, strategies on community safety, the third sector, the early work on Pride 2020 planning, as well as the day to day support we provide the city’s communities.
“I know that the families, children and learning directorate will be left in good shape under the leadership of the dedicated management team and I will enjoy working with the new acting executive director for families, children and learning.”
The council said: “We are working with the families, children and learning directorate management team to confirm ‘acting up’ arrangements and staff will be updated soon. Pinaki will continue to support the families, children and learning directorate during the interim period.
“The recruitment process has started for the permanent executive director for housing, neighbourhoods and communities, with final interviews taking place in early December.”
The successful candidate for the £80,000-a-year role is expected to take up the post in the spring.
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