Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has announced that Nicci Marzec is stepping back as Acting Chief Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. She has also stepped back from her Monitoring Officer responsibilities for the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Ms Marzec had been asked to act up as Chief Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service on a short-term basis until a new permanent Chief Fire Officer was recruited.
Her role was intended to provide stability for the service and to move forward on key, people-focussed improvements and support the new Deputy Chief Fire Officer when he arrives in the county.
However, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said that speculation over his friendship with Ms Marzec means that neither her acting role nor her responsibilities as Monitoring Officer can continue.
“My friendship with Nicci Marzec, who is a long-standing colleague, has become the story and that must not damage the reputation of these organisations I work so hard to promote and improve.”
Simon Tuhill, who joins the Service tomorrow (July 18th) as Deputy Chief Fire Officer, will be asked at once to act up into the Chief Fire Officer role. The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has today (Monday) written to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel to request a confirmation hearing for this move.
Recruitment for a new Chief Fire Officer will continue as planned with an advertisement within the next few weeks.
“When Mark Jones left the service, my immediate aim was to keep stability for the service and continue the work underway. Nicci Marzec, who has worked closely with the service over a long period, was a credible candidate to lead the service for a short time while we advertised for a new Chief Officer,” Stephen said.
“I took legal advice before asking Ms Marzec to temporarily act up in this role and I accept that I acted with urgency to ensure senior officer cover was in place, in advance of the British Grand Prix. I understand I acted too quickly and did not engage with the Police, Fire and Crime Panel in the way I would normally, and I did not have the opportunity to explain my rationale or the legal advice I had been given.
“With hindsight, I accept this has created a level of speculation and criticism that I had not expected and is not helpful to the service.
“In agreeing to take this temporary role, Nicci Marzec genuinely had the best interests of the service as her priority and has already found some key areas for immediate improvement. However, in the best interests of the people of the Fire and Rescue Service who serve this county, she has decided to step back from both her acting role in the Fire Service and her responsibilities as Monitoring Officer.”