COUNTY councillors have today rubber-stamped a plan to appoint a new joint chief executive, signalling a new way of joint working with a district council.

The appointment of Yvonne Rees was supported by 45 councillors, but two independents and nine Liberal Democrats opposed her selection.

Ms Rees is expected to start the £190,000 post in October and Cherwell councillors expect to give the plan their backing at a meeting later.

She is currently serving as Cherwell District Council’s joint chief executive with South Northamptonshire Council, but the latter will be abolished following changes to local government in Northamptonshire.

However the Liberal Democrats’ group leader on the county council, Richard Webber, said the selection of Ms Rees ‘offended his democratic sensibilities’ because she had been handpicked for the role rather than going through a typical employment process.

Mr Webber, who resigned from a panel looking at Ms Rees’ appointment during the employment process, said his objection was ‘about process not people’.

Council leader Ian Hudspeth said Ms Rees’ appointment would mean ‘better and more joined-up services provided for the people of Oxfordshire’.

He also said her appointment would be ‘an exciting opportunity to do things differently in how we deliver our services, with opportunities to align our services, the biggest gainers being the residents'.

Labour group leader Liz Brighouse, whose party backed the changes, said both Cherwell and Oxfordshire were ‘so lucky to appoint someone so experienced’ to work in both county and district councils.

Ms Rees’ arrival will signal the departure of current county council chief executive Peter Clark.

He will receive a pay-off just shy of £260,000.