Calls for inquiry after shock departure of council chief executive



Councillors are demanding a ‘root and branch inquiry’ after their council chief executive quit with immediate effect.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council confirmed that Simon Baker has retired from his post today. He also ran neighbouring High Peak District Council through a strategic alliance.

Mr Baker – whose basic salary was between £151,373 and £164,165 – is the second top officer to leave in just days.

It emerged on Friday that assistant chief executive Mary Walker has resigned from her post.

Now opposition councillors say they want to know if the two departures are linked and why neither of the officials has worked out their notice.

Councillor Mike Gledhill, leader of the Labour group on Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, described the developments as ‘extremely concerning for residents’.

He said: “This is unprecedented in the history of our council, which has been under Conservative and independent control for the last 17 years.”

The Leek South councillor added: “It may be premature to speculate on the details at this early stage, but there must be a root and branch inquiry to establish the full facts.

“I am calling for an urgent extraordinary meeting of the council so that members can be fully appraised of the situation.

“We have a duty to uphold the principles of being in public life and to set the highest standards in our work in terms of leadership, accountability, oversight of officers and, above all, responsibility to the people of the Staffordshire Moorlands.”

It is not clear at this stage who will become the acting chief executive following Mr Baker’s departure. The council currently has three deputy chief executives, including chief finance officer Andrew Stokes.

A joint statement has been issued by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council leader Sybil Ralphs and High Peak Borough Council leader Anthony Mckeown.

They said: “We can confirm that the chief executive has today retired from his employment with the councils, after 22 years’ service at Staffordshire Moorlands and 12 years at High Peak, with immediate effect.”





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