STEPPING DOWN: Tributes paid to outgoing council chief executive
Flintshire Council chief executive Colin Everett, Image: Flintshire Council
Tributes have been paid to the outgoing chief executive of Flintshire Council as he prepares to step down after 14 years at the helm.
Colin Everett announced his intention to leave his role at the start of this year after four decades of working in local government.
His service was recognised at a full council meeting held at Theatr Clwyd in Mold on Tuesday (October 19, 2021), which councillors and officers attended in person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Mr Everett joined the authority back in 2007 having previously worked for five other councils and two national organisations.
During his tenure, he spearheaded the delivery of the the Parc Adfer waste facility on Deeside Industrial Park, and co-led the North Wales Growth Deal aimed at boosting the region’s economy.
He was also credited with raising Flintshire’s profile at a national level in Wales by former Labour council leader Aaron Shotton, who worked with him between 2012 and 2019.
Cllr Shotton, who took part in the meeting remotely after informing his colleagues he was undergoing cancer treatment, said: “I can certainly say in all honesty that I was always able to take great pride and real confidence in our chief executive that we have in Flintshire.
“His clarity of purpose, his work ethic and his drive was second to none.
“It was his depth of knowledge of matters and public service that helped raise Flintshire’s standing on the national and regional stage.
“Gravitas is a quality that I think is often lacking in public service and Colin has that in abundance.”
He added: “Colin, you should be extremely proud of your contribution of a lifetime in public service that you have made to the benefit and enrichment of our county and also to north Wales as a region.
“You will leave a strong legacy and one that any public servant would be proud to have.”
Mr Everett is due to depart his role at the end of the month and will be succeeded by Neal Cockerton, the council’s current chief officer for housing and assets.
During the meeting, he was presented with a painting by Shropshire-based artist Mark Warner in recognition of his work, as well as a book of memories bound in goatskin.
He was also praised by current council leader Ian Roberts, who said: “We owe you a great debt of gratitude as a council.
“Your leadership, your resilience and on the other side your friendship, your kind words, your ability always to be there for members – that is the mark of a great chief executive.”
Mr Everett received a standing ovation from those in attendance during the meeting.
Although he would not reveal his future work plans, he stressed he had not retired and had ambitions to undertake volunteering and write books.
In his parting speech, Mr Everett called on councillors to support the authority’s senior officers as the Covid pandemic continues and fight against online hate speech.
He said: “There’s never a good time to leave and we’re still recovering from a pandemic that produces a slight sense of guilt about leaving when I am.
“It’s going to be a very challenging winter for public health, health and social services and the economy.
“Please stay strong, support your senior officers and value your workforce, because they’re the ones that face the challenges out there on your behalf.
“I would ask that you’re patient, empathetic, and kind and to stand up against unfair criticism and hate-motivated social media content.
“Without a loyal, protected and motivated workforce we are nothing.”
Words: Liam Randall, Local Democracy Reporter
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