No one is surprised by this. The antipathy from Peter Nutting, the political leader of the council, towards Clive has been evident for a long while. The body language between Nutting and Clive has in recent months has made it clear they no longer work as a team.
In Shropshire Council’s now traditional style, Clive Wright has gone immediately. In the middle of a flooding crisis. That’s lousy management. Not by Clive – but by Nutting and the out of touch Tory group on the council.
Clive Wright arrived after the overnight departure of Kim Riley, the previous chief executive in 2012. Clive wasn’t initially called a chief executive because the then leader, Keith Barrow, said there no need for that role in a council with strong political leadership. But Barrow’s leadership failed and he resigned as leader and councillor in 2015. Again, he left overnight.
I disagreed with Clive Wright many times. Including in recent days. But I have always respect for his dedication and his willingness to listen to councillors regardless of political affiliation.
Three officers will be dealing with Clive’s duties until a replacement is appointed. There is no doubt that the replacement will be someone who won’t challenge the Tories.
This was stupid timing by the Tories. They have been talking about getting rid of Clive for a while. The rumours that he would be sacked have grown in recent days. But what well managed organisation gets rid of the top executive in the middle of a crisis?
The people who should go are those that sit around the cabinet table of Shropshire Council.
Statement from Shropshire Council
I have agreed with the Leader that I will leave my post as Chief Executive of Shropshire Council with immediate effect.
I want to place on record my heartfelt thanks to all the amazing people I have worked with here at the Council and our partners and communities. It has been a great privilege to serve you all and the people of Shropshire as Chief Executive.
I am proud to have been part of the Council and your exemplary response to the floods over the last eleven days demonstrates what being part of the public sector is about. Seriously, well done everyone!
I wish you and the Council all the very best for the future.”
The Executive Director of Adult Social Care – Andy Begley – and Executive Director of Children’s Services – Karen Bradshaw – will be joint acting Chief Executive during this interim period. The Director of Workforce and Transformation – Michele Leith – will be the acting Head of Paid Services.