DERBYSHIRE: County council chief set for departure

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
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DERBYSHIRE County Council’s newly-appointed chairman David Wilcox has announced today, Wednesday, May 15, that the authority’s chief executive Nick Hodgson is to leave the council.

The announcement at this afternoon’s council AGM at County Hall, Matlock, was made just 12 days after Labour party members regained control of the former Conservative-led council in the local elections with a landslide victory on May 3.

Cllr Wilcox, Labour councillor for Etherow, said: “Chief executive Nick Hodgson is to leave the authority at the beginning of June. He has worked for the council for 38 years - the last 16 as chief executive.”

He added: “I would like to thank Nick personally and on behalf of the council, for an enormous contribution to the work of the council over many years.”

The council had refused to comment to the Derbyshire Times earlier this week about speculation surrounding the £152,000-a-year chief executive’s position.

Cllr Andrew Lewer, Conservative councillor for Ashbourne and former council leader, asked Cllr Wilcox for permission during the meeting to ask a question about the chief executive but he was refused to do so.

Cllr Wilcox indicated there would be other opportunities to express gratitude and to discuss the matter at a later date.

During the same meeting, the new Labour-led council introduced changes to the format of full council meetings after councillors voted by a majority in favour of the proposal.

Newly-appointed council leader Anne Western, Labour councillor for Barlborough and Clowne, will now present a report to the council on major issues, and the council will receive a report about decisions taken at cabinet meetings and members will be prompted to ask questions in writing prior to any future council meetings.

The Labour-led council argued the procedure has been adopted in other local authorities and it is hoped it will assist communications between the cabinet and the council and enable more considered responses.

However, Conservative councillors argued the constitution was being dismantled and the new format would stifle members’ questions and erode the capacity for debate.

Cllr Simon Spencer, Conservative councillor for Dovedale and former council deputy leader, said: “There is a major change in the constitution of this authority and how it does business and it takes away the opportunity of back-benchers to ask questions.”

In other matters, Cllr Wilcox was officially appointed as the new council chairman and Cllr Janet Hill, Labour councillor for Dronfield East, was appointed as the county council’s new vice chairman.

Council leader Anne Western told how she is delighted to be the first female leader at Derbyshire County Council.

She said the council would be focussing on Markham Vale, Glossop library, the costs of travel, apprenticeships and building partnerships with borough and district councils.