DEPARTING Cheshire County Council chief executive Jeremy Taylor has launched a final attack on local government reorganisation saying hard-working staff had been “rewarded by anxiety and doubts about their future”.
Mr Taylor, 61, has led the £1 billion authority since 2002, when the council - responsible for over 80% of the county’s services - was first rated among England’s ‘Excellent’ authorities.
But on April 1, the 120-year-old council – along with the county’s six districts – will be replaced with just two councils covering East and West Cheshire.
An opponent of the move, Mr Taylor said this week: “I regret the Government’s decision but remain intensely proud of our long record of achievement.
“We leave a legacy of a customer-friendly, responsive, open and accountable organisation with a fine record of strong financial management.
“Those achievements have only been possible through the expertise and dedication of a staff which to my great regret have seen unstinting effort ‘rewarded‘ by anxiety about their future.”
He added: “I sincerely hope our successors will be able to maintain those services in the face of severe financial challenges.”
During his time with the council he has been director of personnel, the policy unit and community development and had overall responsibility for the authority’s response to the foot-and-mouth and petrol blockade crises.
A graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Mr Taylor, a grandfather, lives in Chester. His wife Rachel is an education adviser for pupils with medical needs within the county council’s Children’s Services and his daughter Annabel is a solicitor.
Before joining the county council in 1979, he worked as a personnel manager with ICI and senior university lecturer in management and education. His interests include fell walking, classical music and theatre. He cites his main strength as tenacity and his weakness as: “Don’t suffer fools gladly”.
Leaders of Cheshire’s political groups, county councillors Paul Findlow (Conservative); Derek Bateman (Labour); Sue Proctor (Lib Dem) and Chris Claxton (Independent) paid tribute to Mr Taylor’s outstanding service in a joint statement.
“As chiefŠexecutive he led an authority justly proud ofŠthe quality of servicesŠprovided for theŠpeople of Cheshire.”