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Hynes’s future debated at council meeting


CONTRACT UP IN MAY Mayo County Council Chief Executive, Peter Hynes.

Edwin McGreal

The future of Mayo County Council’s Chief Executive Peter Hynes was the most contentious discussion at yesterday’s (Monday) council budget meeting.
Mr Hynes’s current contract expires in May and he has yet to reveal whether he will seek to go forward again for the role.
That issue became very heated at times in the council chamber yesterday.
It all began when Cllr Peter Flynn (Fine Gael) set the context for his comments on budget plans by questioning who will be in the hot-seat from May onwards.
“I say this with no personal disrespect, the chief executive is going to leave here in five months time, someone else will be in the hot seat so it does mean we are going to be in a very different space,” he said.
Mr Hynes responded immediately.
“The role of Chief Executive will be open for competition in five months time. Whether the Chief Executive returns or not is a matter which is outside the gift of this chamber and not to be determined by this council in anyway shape or form,” he replied.
Cllr Flynn said he had been informed by the Department of Environment that Mr Hynes was stepping aside.
“The Department are wrong. The matter is not a matter for the chamber nor is it a matter for you, with respect. The situation is the job will be advertised. It will be open to competition,” replied Mr Hynes.
After calls from Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Damien Ryan and Mr Hynes himself, Cllr Flynn clarified his position.
“I will correct it. Your contract is up in five months time so we are under the impression there will be a new person in situ or potentially you could reapply,” he said.
“That is entirely the situation. The chief executive may or may not be leaving in five months time,” replied Mr Hynes.
“We’re a new council. We’re here for five years and there’s uncertainty in relation to your own position. That’s not an unreasonable point,” countered Cllr Flynn.
Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Brendan Mulroy, took issue with Cllr Flynn.
“I do take offence when we bring into play someone’s job … Any member of staff should not be harrassed, for the want of a better word, into declaring whether they are going to go for a job or not. There has to be a line,” he said.  
Cllr Flynn replied by arguing he was entitled to raise the issue.
“To be fair, his contract is due up in May and I think that’s a very important decision for the council. We need to know who is going to be guiding us for the next four and a half years,” he said.
Cllr Damien Ryan concluded by saying he hopes Mr Hynes will seek to continue in the role.
“There is no doubt there will be a vacancy at some stage in the New Year. This council has done very well in the last ten years and I hope when it comes up that the Chief Executive, it is a personal decision but I’d be delighted to see him back,” he said.