A SCANDAL-HIT council is set to gain and then lose a new £125,000-a-year chief executive because she is having a baby.
Dr Jo Farrar, currently Cardiff council's assistant chief executive, will join Bridgend in January and is expected to start her maternity leave around three months later.
Today, Dr Farrar said she only intended to take a very short period off work, would be doing some work from home and would not be entitled to maternity pay.
"I want to assure people the pace of change is not going to stop," she said. "I am making a long-term commitment to Bridgend and will be coming back to work full-time."
Dr Farrar, who has been a working mum for 19 years, added: "I think this is a positive example that women can have a career and a family."
Concerns have been raised that any changes she wishes to implement will be delayed. Bridgend has been one of the most troubled authorities in Wales of recent times.
Dr Farrar, 42, who was announced as the successful candidate last month, added: "I am delighted Bridgend council has been so supportive and I am currently discussing maternity arrangements. I am also lucky to have the help and support of my family, as this will allow me to return to work quickly. I look forward to joining the authority in the New Year.
"Bridgend council is a family-friendly employer with many policies that support a good work-life balance."
Bridgend's leader, Councillor Cheryl Green, said: "Jo has the full support of myself and cabinet and we congratulate her on her happy news. Tried and tested maternity procedures will be put in place to ensure the continuing day-to-day smooth running of the authority and the services we provide."
Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon said if women were to take their place in positions of power, employers would have to accept parenthood comes with the package.
But she said: "It is sad news for the people of Bridgend, who desperately need her leadership at the council. It is particularly unfortunate that she is starting off her new role in this way."
From April, all employers will have to grant employees up to nine months' maternity leave.
Bridgend council has been hit by scandal. In July, two council officers, whose election blunders may have put the wrong people into office, were sacked after an internal investigation found the pair claimed more than £50,000 in expenses they were not entitled to. Police are investigating.
The man responsible for the electoral services department, chief executive Keri Lewis, retired early with a £365,000 package, despite an independent inquiry concluding there were "shortcomings" in his performance that amounted to "misconduct".