CHIEF EXECUTIVE QUITS: Fenland Council rocked by Tim Pilsbury's shock resignation

By John Elworthy COUNCILLORS were rocked tonight by the resignation of the �150,000 year chief executive of Fenland District Council. Tim Pilsbury s out of the blue decision to quit was announced by Council Leader Alan Melton to a packed chamber at Fenla

By John Elworthy

COUNCILLORS were rocked tonight by the resignation of the �150,000 year chief executive of Fenland District Council.

Tim Pilsbury's out of the blue decision to quit was announced by Council Leader Alan Melton to a packed chamber at Fenland Hall which had just approved the budget for 2010/11.

The leader's surprise package of an extra �6 million of capital spending was overshadowed by the statement by Cllr Melton that the chief executive, who he helped pick nine years ago, was to take early retirement.


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The 58 year-old chief executive, who will leave this summer, said he would be sad to be leaving Fenland.

"I have put a big chunk of my heart and soul into the council and the biggest hope is that it continues to keep its focus on the things that are important to local people," he said.

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His resignation will also mean a significant saving for the council since his successor is not expected to earn anything like the salary package which he has developed over the years.

It will also end uncertainty over his relationships with the new leader since both are embroiled in a Standards Board of England investigation into the email gate affair which led to the resignation of former leader Geoff Harper and the ousting of Cllr Harper's deputy, Fred Yeulett.

The Standards Board of England is fast tracking a complaint made by Mr Pilsbury against Cllr Melton for allegedly bringing the council into disrepute but any animosity between the pair was forgotten in the exchange of tributes and pleasantries at today's meeting.

Cllr Melton said he had been "proud to have been part of the team that chose Tim as our chief executive."

He explained Mr Pilsbury's departure partly in terms of recent discussions over management savings "and we both agreed it would be good to start at the top by reviewing the chief officer team."

Cllr Melton then revealed he had brought in an independent person to review this work and both he and the chief executive "ended up with the option of Tim taking early retirement.

"I would stress that this decision was reached jointly and amicably, with no animosity on either side. This is the end of an era for Fenland Council. They say its good to go out on a high, and it doesn't get much higher than this."

Mr Pilsbury said in a statement it had been "an honour and privilege" to serve as chief executive since 2002" and Fenland Council was now widely acknowledged as one of the best councils in the country.

He also revealed he had been 'head hunted' over the years but had always refused, preferring to stay in Fenland.

"My reason for staying here was that it just doesn't get much better than this. Wherever I look in the council I see success and a real desire to improve things for local people and there are not many chief executives who can say that and mean it.

"What a great bunch of people. My sincere personal thanks go to each of them."

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