The Kenilworth Centre has appointed former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Richard Dickson as its change manager during its transition period.
Both Mr Dickson and the chair of trustees at the centre, Lib Dem county councillor John Whitehouse, deny the appointment was politically-motivated. Mr Dickson, who is married to Liberal Democrat town councillor Kate Dickson, was one of three applicants interviewed.
He said: “When I was interviewed I said ‘If you want somebody with experience in the not-for-profit sector, then I have a lot to offer.’
“It was an open recruitment process and I was interviewed by three of the trustees, which did not include John Whitehouse. I wouldn’t have taken the job if someone said ‘Here you are Richard, will you do this?’
“Whether I can come up with some proposal for the centre remains to be seen.”
Cllr Whitehouse removed himself from the recruitment process once Mr Dickson was touted as a potential candidate, as he was aware some may have viewed the process as unfair had he taken part.
He said: “I was aware he could be good for the role. We didn’t headhunt anybody, but in the discussions before the process started his name came up and we thought ‘How do we handle it?’
“I was very keen to make sure this was a totally transparent process. The other trustees in my view chose Richard because of his massive amount of experience.”
When asked about Mr Dickson’s political leanings, Cllr Whitehouse said: “I’m very aware of that, as were all of the trustees. What we couldn’t afford to do was let that get in the way of appointing the right person, and Richard satisfied all our trustees.
“At the end of the day, this is a short-term role, and I’ll be managing the centre until we get a long-term structure.”