Agenda item

Recognition of Service by Colin Everett, outgoing Chief Executive

To recognise the 14 years of service by Colin Everett as the Council’s longest serving Chief Executive.


The Chair of the Council invited the outgoing Chief Executive, Colin Everett, to speak. In his opening remarks the Chief Executive thanked Officers and colleagues in Democratic Services, Theatr Clwyd, Corporate Communications, and Picturehouse for their work in organising a technical and logistically complex meeting.


The Chief Executive said that when he joined Flintshire County Council in 2007, the Authority did not have the regional or national influence it deserved. He spoke of his brief on appointment which was to bring new energy, professional leadership, and make positive change happen. Today there was recognition from many sources including the First Minister, other Cabinet Ministers, and national commentators, that Flintshire County Council was a strong, high performing and innovative Council, providing leadership to other authorities and organisations, and the best authority in Wales for partnership working.


The Chief Executive gave a brief synopsis of his career in local government service which had spanned 40 years. He said that Flintshire County Council would hold a special memory for him and he had been privileged to serve its residents and local communities. He then gave a short presentation which highlighted a few of the many achievements and notable events during his period of office. He felt that the Authority was in a confident, resilient, and able position to move forward in the future under the new leadership of Neal Cockerton, Chief Executive designate.


In his closing comments, the Chief Executive said that the future was good for North Wales; and its location, landscape, heritage, and economy was unique. He had enjoyed living in North Wales during his time as a public services leader and was confident that it would recover well from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to be a safe place to live and work.


The Chief Executive expressed thanks to the current and former Chairs of Flintshire County Council, Leaders of the Council, Group Leaders, Cabinet Members, Chairs of Committees, and Members, for their support. He also thanked senior officer colleagues, Chief Officers, Service Managers, and the Chief Executive team for their support and companionship throughout the last 14 years. He commented on his personal plans for the future and said he would make a return visit when the opportunity arose.


The Chief Executive welcomed Lord Barry Jones and Lady Janet Jones to the meeting. He paid special thanks to Lord Barry Jones for his personal support as a mentor. He paid tribute to his work and personal qualities and in summarising said he was the embodiment of advocacy for Flintshire and its people. In recognition of his service as a Member of Parliament for 50 years, the Chief Executive asked Members to stand in tribute to Lord Barry Jones.


The Chief Executive paid tribute to his successor Neal Cockerton, the incoming Chief Executive, and referred to his personal qualities and exemplary work ethic and values. Neal Cockerton thanked the Chief Executive for his counsel, mentoring, guidance, and professional support. He also passed on the thanks of the Chief Officer team, the workforce, and partner organisations, for his strong leadership throughout some of the most challenging events to be faced by the Council. He spoke of the Chief Executive’s relationship with Welsh Government and regional partners which was key to the delivery of transformational and intergenerational programmes and would leave a lasting legacy in the region. The incoming Chief Executive presented a short introductory film which briefly set out his thoughts and aspirations for the future of the Council.


The Chairman presented a gift to the outgoing Chief Executive to mark his retirement on behalf of Members and work colleagues.


Councillor Ian Roberts said the Council owed a debt of gratitude to the outgoing Chief Executive. He spoke of his leadership and resilience, and his personal qualities of friendship, kindness, and the support offered to Members when needed. He commented on the challenge of many years of austerity and severe budget restraints which were faced by the Council under the Chief Executive’s leadership and the unprecedented demands of the Covid-19 pandemic which followed. He spoke of the importance of an effective working partnership between officers and Members and thanked the Chief Executive for his ability to work with Members to achieve best outcomes for the Council as a substantial direct provider of services. In conclusion Councillor Roberts asked Members to join him in standing ovation to the Chief Executive.


Councillors Mike Peers, Marion Bateman, Clive Carver, Carol Ellis, Aaron Shotton, and Neville Phillips paid tribute to the Chief Executive, referring to examples of his unseen work in response to the needs of others and for the benefit of Flintshire and its residents, and thanked him for his service and dedication. Members wished him well for the future and also wished the incoming Chief Executive every success in his new role.


The Chief Officer (Governance) presented the Chief Executive with a leather bound ’Memory Book’, which had been put together by a team of officers, and incorporated memories, expressions of goodwill, and anecdotes from Members, Officers, and professional colleagues across Wales. The book had been hand-stitched and bound in leather with gold letter tooling by Mark Allen, Senior Conservator with the North Wales Archives service. He invited the Principal Archivist to explain the process behind the volume. The Chief Executive expressed his appreciation to all who had contributed to the Memory Book which he said he would treasure.