Cath McEvoy-Carr, who is also the authority’s deputy chief executive, is leaving her post next month to take up a role as children, education and skills director at Newcastle City Council.
During a meeting of the council’s family and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday, councillors were presented with a report explaining who would take over Mrs McEvoy-Carr’s role when she leaves on May 16 – and members took the opportunity to say just how much she would be missed.
Cramlington Village councillor Mark Swinburn appeared close to tears as he thanked the officer for her assistance since his election.
He said: “I just want to pass on my own thanks – back in 2017 when I was first elected, I had a conversation with a former cabinet member saying how we needed to do some work here [on children’s services].
“We have come a long way and it is down to you and the team you have built up. Were it not for you, we would be a long way from where we are at the moment.
“On a more personal level, I know you have been the go to person when me and other members have had issues. You are going to be a massive loss to this authority. Thank you so much.”
The committee’s chairman, Coun Wayne Daley – who was previously cabinet member for children’s services – added: ““When I was cabinet member for children’s services, one of the things Cath said to me is we are hated by the family courts, because we’re not doing this and we’re not doing that – and that was your mission, to get the family courts to love Northumberland County Council.”
Cath’s role at the county council will be taken over on an interim, shared basis by Audrey Kingham, the senior service director and director of education and skills; and Graham Reiter, service director for children’s social care. Mr Reiter will take on the nominated DCS for statutory purposes.
Once a review into the council’s management structure is completed – which is expected to be later this year – a permanent appointment will be made.