WARRINGTON Borough Council could be without a new permanent chief executive for the next 12 months.

An interview of five shortlisted candidates, including some currently employed at the Town Hall, on Wednesday ended without the five member appointment committee being able to agree on a new boss.

Steven Broomhead, acting as interim chief executive, has a contract until May although that is likely to be extended - perhaps until the end of 2013.

Councillors are unlikely to be rushing into advertising for the position again soon.

Clr Terry O'Neill, council leader (LAB Burtonwood and Winwick), said: "We had good candidates but there was no outstanding candidate and we unanimously agreed not to appoint."

Clr Ian Marks (LD - Lymm) said he felt the council was in ‘safe hands’ with Mr Broomhead in charge but said a permanent replacement must be in place before the council can look to make any long term decisions.

He added: “It was felt that unanimous support was right and this not forthcoming. A lot of time and effort went into the process and it is disappointing that no appointment was made.”

Mr Broomhead, who has the role full time in the early 2000s, has been acting as a caretaker boss since Diana Terris left to move to Barnsley in the summer.

His current contract runs until May but that is likely to be extended until the end of the year.

Clr Paul Kennedy, Conservative leader, Hatton, Walton and Stretton, said: “It is a sign of great strength in an organisation that you do not feel under pressure to appoint.”

Mr Broomhead said he was happy with the current arrangements and would be happy to discuss any possible extensions.

There were 34 applicants for the post which was advertised originally in the autumn.