COUNCILLORS have agreed plans to replace a council director who has taken over the reins as chief executive.
The search is on to replace Dave Stubbs as director of regeneration and neighbourhoods after he was confirmed as the new chief executive at Hartlepool Borough Council.
Councillors have set up an eight-strong cross party appointments panel which will then make a recommendation to full council.
The panel includes chairman of the council, Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, Mayor Stuart Drummond, Labour councillors Christopher Akers-Belcher, Chris Simmons, Marjorie James and Peter Jackson, Conservative group leader Ray Wells and Putting Hartlepool First councillor, Keith Dawkins.
The statutory responsibilities of the director of regeneration and neighbourhoods will continue to be carried out by Mr Stubbs until a permanent replacement is appointed.
Mr Stubbs replaced acting chief executive Nicola Bailey, who is leaving to work within the NHS as managing director of North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group.
Mrs Bailey was formerly director of child and adult services and that role will continue to be shared between assistant directors until a permanent appointment or another arrangement through collaboration work with neighbouring councils is decided.
Councillors paid tribute to Mrs Bailey’s work at the recent full council meeting, presented her with gifts and flowers, before giving her a standing ovation.
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “Nicola is a tremendous officer,” while Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher thanked her for “stepping into the breach” when Paul Walker retired in August last year.
He praised her “dignity and professionalism” while others described her as energetic, friendly and “the ultimate professional”.
Putting Hartlepool First Group Leader Geoff Lilley said she was “one in a million”, meanwhile Labour councillor Robbie Payne thanked Mrs Bailey for her efforts in helping to rehome a family from the Burbank area of town into new accommodation.
Conservative group leader Ray Wells said: “You embraced back bench members and there has been an open door policy.”
Independent councillor Paul Thompson added: “The NHS and the people of Durham are really going to benefit having you there.”
An emotional Mrs Bailey, 46, said: “Don’t ever undervalue the staff at the council, they really make the difference and they will often go the extra mile.
“I am looking forward to a new challenge and I’m sure that Dave Stubbs will do a cracking job.”
The mum-of-four, who joined the authority in December 2005, leaves her post next week and starts her new role on November 1.