A Teesside council at the centre of controversy over a £10,000 pay rise for its former chief executive has appointed his replacement.
Hartlepool Council chief Paul Walker announced his retirement in June, shortly after it emerged his salary had increased from £157,205 to £168,000.
The council's former head of child services, Nicola Bailey, has now been appointed acting chief executive.
She will be paid the same as Mr Walker before his pay rise.
Unions were critical of Mr Walker's pay hike at a time when the authority was faced with making savings of about £14m.
But he received backing from the town's mayor Stuart Drummond and Labour MP Iain Wright.
Mrs Bailey, 45, has worked for the authority for six years.
The acting chief executive post was created after councillors decided a temporary role was best until a long-term solution could be decided.
Among the options being considered is a shared chief executive role with a neighbouring council.
Mrs Bailey, a mother of four, said: "I am fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead and am absolutely committed to working together with councillors, officers, partner organisations and the public to do the very best for Hartlepool."
Mr Drummond added: "Nicola has a wealth of experience and knowledge which will be invaluable in the months to come. I look forward very much to working with her in her new role."
Mrs Bailey joined the authority in 2005 from Redcar and Cleveland Council as director of adult and community services.
In August 2009 she was appointed director of child and adult services when a restructure saw the number of departments reduced from five to three.