South Somerset District Council’s Chief Executive, Alex Parmley, is to step down from his role after almost five years at the authority.
He has overseen and led the work of the council during an extraordinary period in South Somerset’s history.
This includes steering the organisation through a successful transformation programme, spearheading regeneration programmes for Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton, ensuring communities were supported through the Covid-19 pandemic and much more.
Commenting, Mr Palmer said: “It has been an immense privilege to serve as the council’s Chief Executive and to work with such a fantastic team of colleagues who work tirelessly, always with a focus on our residents.
“Together, over the past few years, we have transformed the council, taken forward new approaches, such as the Commercial Strategy.
"[We] stretched the ambition of the organisation to regenerate our three largest towns, develop our economy, deal with the climate emergency, support those families who are struggling in our communities and much more besides.
“There have been challenges along the way and, in being ambitious and innovative, it was inevitable that we would not always get everything right at the first attempt.
"But I feel together, we have got the council to where it needed to be; financially secure, no cuts to services, modern, agile and focused on improving our communities.
“I am hugely proud of what we have achieved.”
Mr Palmer was appointed by South Somerset District Council at a full council meeting in August 2016.
He committed to the Leader that he would fulfil the role for four to five years in order to help take the council through the changes members wanted to see and start delivering the ambitions they held for South Somerset and its communities.
During that time, he has seen the council continually gain national recognition for its innovative work, including what it has achieved through its commercial, economic and environmental strategies.
South Somerset Council Leader, Val Keitch added: “On behalf of all of our members, I want to thank Alex for the tireless work he has undertaken over the past five years.
“He has made such a difference to the lives of all those living in South Somerset and across the region through his work with partners and on the future of local government through his role in developing the ‘Stronger Somerset’ proposal.
“In particular, I want to thank him for the role his leadership has played in, ensuring this council could do so much to support residents through the Covid-19 crisis, from setting up the county’s first wellbeing hub to redeploying hundreds of staff to support vaccination and testing centres, while still delivering vital services.
“There is no doubt that he leaves behind an organisation which is much better equipped to deal with future challenges and continue to provide the best possible services for our residents, focused on delivering the right outcomes for our towns and villages.”
He is due to formally step down from his role on 11 July and will take up the position of Chief Executive at Waitaki District Council in New Zealand.
South Somerset District Council will now seek to recruit an interim Chief Executive, with that recruitment process already started to ensure continuity of leadership.
The step to recruit an interim CEO at this stage was determined the most appropriate by the council, pending the outcome of the Secretary of State for Local Government's decision regarding potential changes to local government in Somerset.
The aim is for South Somerset’s full council to make a decision regarding an appointment in May.