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West Sussex chief to leave

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West Sussex CC’s acting chief executive Gill Steward is to leave her post once her contract comes to an end next spring.

Previously interim executive director of customer and place operations at Essex CC, Ms Steward was appointed to the role at West Sussex on a salary worth £160,000 a year in July 2014.

At the time of her appointment, the council said Ms Steward would spend her interim appointment restructuring, and reducing, the senior management team.

In a blog post, leader Louise Goldsmith (Con) said: “The transformation phase comes to its conclusion in line with Gill’s contract ending next spring. For the next few months, Gill and I will continue to work together on tackling the big issues that the county faces, including the government’s upcoming spending review, the council’s budget and working with our partners on developing our devolution proposals.

“I and the cabinet have very much enjoyed working with her and wish her much success in the future.”

Ms Steward’s career in local government has also seen her hold senior positions at Bracknell Forest BC, Hackney and Redridge LBCs, and Cornwall Council.

Meanwhile, West Sussex’s director of highways and transport Nicola Debnam has been offered a director’s role at Highways England. Ms Debnam, who led the highway team’s response to the Shoreham Air Show tragedy, will leave the local authority in December.

Cllr Goldsmith said: “Work has begun on finding Nicola’s replacement but she will truly be a tough act to follow.”

Permanent appointments to the county council’s director of adults services, director of finance, and director of public health roles have also been made, although the names have yet to be revealed. Cllr Goldsmith said they would once “due diligence” checks had been completed.

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