West Sussex County Council boss Nathan Elvery is ‘currently away from duties’ the authority has confirmed.
He joined as chief executive on a £190,000 a year salary in 2016.
Lee Harris, executive director of place services, is covering the day to day running of the council, according to an internal email.
A spokesman for the county council said: “The chief executive is currently away from duties.”
During Mr Elvery’s tenure the county council received an ‘inadequate’ rating for its children’s services in May and a poor report for its fire and rescue services months later.
Repeated questions have also been asked about a £47,500 payment made by the county council to Mr Elvery originally believed to be for his relocation to West Sussex.
However after it was revealed that he still owned his family home in Surrey alongside a new flat in Chichester, the county council said it had waived any requirement to permanently move to the county in his case.