Council officer is praised

COUNCILLORS have united to praise a senior council officer who is set to leave after securing another job at a neighbouring local authority.

Caroline O’Neill, 49, Hartlepool Borough Council’s assistant director of performance and achievement, is leaving the local authority after landing a job at Durham County Council.

Members from across the political spectrum paid tribute to the work of the mum-of-two from Newcastle.

Speaking at Thursday’s meeting of the full council, Labour councillor Chris Simmons said: “Her work with this council has been exemplary.

“I would like to wish her all the best in her new position.”

Conservative group leader Ray Wells said: “I would wholeheartedly agree with what has been said.

“On behalf of the Conservative group I wish her the very best.”

Labour councillor Robbie Payne said: “Since 1995 Hartlepool has had a lot of fantastic officers and Caroline is top of that list in my opinion.

“Our loss is Durham’s gain and I wish her the very best for the future.”

Liberal Democrat group leader Arthur Preece said: “There is no doubt that she has been a fantastic officer, particularly in her relationship with schools.”

Independent councillor Cath Hill added: “I would like to wish Caroline all the very best in Durham.”

Meanwhile, Labour councillor Carl Richardson, chair of the council, said: “She has made a wonderful contribution to this town.”

The council currently has a recruitment freeze, but it has been agreed to replace the outgoing officer.

Councillors agreed to set up an appointments panel at a previous meeting of the full council.