Ashfield councillors across the chamber pay tribute to departing chief executive

Rob Mitchell will leave the role on September 22.
Rob Mitchell will leave the role on September 22.

Councillors from all three groups in Ashfield District Council have paid tribute to departing chief executive Rob Mitchell, who leaves the role later this month.

Mr Mitchell will leave the authority after four and a half years in the job to take up a role as chief executive for Charnwood Borough Council in Leicestershire, where he lives.

And in his departure, the council has appointed its first ever female chief executive, Carol Cooper-Smith, who will take up the role from September 22 when Mr Mitchell leaves.

In an extraordinary meeting of the council, members from the Ashfield Independents, Labour and Conservative groups paid tribute to the departing chief executive.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of the council and the Ashfield Independents group, said: "Rob has been a great friend to Ashfield district, and even when in opposition I found it difficult to criticise him because he held such a straight bat.

"He has held the role with a passion and zest that I have not seen before, and he will be a sad loss to the district.

"It is testament that across the authority, he is well regarded by all staff members not just in the chamber."

Coun Kier Morrison, deputy leader of the Labour group, said: "It has been fantastic working with Rob.

"Casting my mind back to where the district was four years ago to looking where it is now, and the challenges he has over seen, it is an achievement to make Ashfield such a forward thinking area.

"He has always had professionalism and integrity in serving the district, and has done a really good job."

Coun Kevin Rostance, leader of the Conservative group, said: "The times Rob has got Ashfield through has been traumatic, but his job has been exceptional.

"He will be sadly missed by the Conservative group and all the people at the council, and he is one of the finest chief executives I have had the pleasure of working with."

After a round of applause and thanks from other members in the chamber, Mr Mitchell gave a speech to the council.

He said: "It has been a pleasure to be Ashfield's chief executive and a fantastic four and a half years here.

"They say you never forget your first chief executive role and I'll certainly never forget Ashfield.

"It has been a challenge and a test, but more than anything it has been a real pleasure.

"I will look back on our success, and I'm confident we will ride the storm of funding pressures in the years to come."

At the meeting, Ruth Dennis was also appointed as the council's returning officer for elections.