High Peak Borough Council's chief executive Simon Baker retires – just days after assistant’s resignation

High Peak Borough Council’s chief executive Simon Baker has retired with immediate effect - just days after his assistant resigned.
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Mr Baker’s shock departure was announced today - just three days after his assistant chief executive Mary Walker resigned.

It is still unclear why either of the two - who had worked for the council for a number of years - had decided to leave their jobs.

Long-serving chief Mr Baker took charge of High Peak Borough Council when it merged with Staffordshire Moorlands Council 12 years ago.

Chief Executive Simon Baker, standing, watches as councillors Tony Ashton and Sybil Ralphs reaffirm the strategic allianceChief Executive Simon Baker, standing, watches as councillors Tony Ashton and Sybil Ralphs reaffirm the strategic alliance
Chief Executive Simon Baker, standing, watches as councillors Tony Ashton and Sybil Ralphs reaffirm the strategic alliance

In a joint statement leaders of both districts Anthony McKeown and Sybil Ralphs said Mr Baker had retired after 22 years at Staffordshire Moorlands and 12 years at High Peak with ‘immediate effect’.

Tony Kemp, former deputy leader of High Peak Borough Council, said Mr Baker had ‘done a good job over the years’.

He said: “The alliance has moved forward greatly under Simon Baker’s leadership.

“Both councils have a considerable debt to him in the work he has done to make that happen.

“He’s done a damn good job over the last 10 years - he’s made a lot of savings which has allowed us to achieve an awful lot.

“The other person who has been named has also done an awfully good job over the years.”

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Meanwhile Mike Gledhill - the leader of the opposition Labour group at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council - said ‘something has gone seriously wrong’ after hearing the shock news.

Councillor Gledhill is also calling for an ‘urgent extraordinary meeting of the council’ and a ‘root and branch inquiry to establish the full facts’.

In a statement he wrote: “The events of the last ten days at SMDC are extremely concerning for residents of The Staffordshire Moorlands.

“First we had the sudden resignation of the Assistant Chief Executive (Mary Walker) and today there is news that the Chief Executive (Simon Baker) has also resigned with immediate effect after 22 years in post.

“This is unprecedented in the history of our council, which has been under Conservative & Independent control for the last 17 years.

“Clearly something has gone seriously wrong and, whilst it is good to know that action has been taken, there must be some fundamental issues which have led to these resignations.

“It may be premature to speculate on the details at this early stage but there must be a root and branch inquiry to establish the full facts.

“I am calling for an urgent extraordinary meeting of the council so that members can be fully appraised (SIC) of the situation.

“We have a duty to uphold the principles of being in public life and to set the highest standards in our work in terms of leadership, accountability, oversight of officers and, above all, responsibility to the people of the Staffordshire Moorlands.”