Two ‘highly regarded’ top officers have left a troubled Lancashire council.
They were two very highly regarded officers - the last two remaining members of the management team.
The departures from South Ribble Council have further perpetuated concerns of uncertainty over the running of the controversial local authority.
Director of development, enterprise and communities, Denise Johnson and director of neighbourhoods, environmental health and assets, Mark Gaffney, both stood down and left over Christmas.
The two long-standing officers walked away without a leaving presentation taking place, it is understood. They took voluntary redundancy following a new management structure at the council.
Paul Foster, leader of the Labour opposition on the Tory-run council, said: “It’s a sad day for the council, two very, very long-serving officers.
“Mark Gaffney served 35 years and joined as a gardener.
“Denise was there about 14 or 15 years.”
Coun Foster added; “They were two very highly regarded officers - the last two remaining members of the management team.
“I wish them a fond farewell.”
The council was rocked by a taxi driver child sex abuse scandal two years ago and has been under the spotlight ever since, with accusations that it needs better leadership from its top brass.
The council appointed a new chief executive last summer.
Heather McManus, a former deputy chief executive at Lancaster City Council, took over from interim chief executive Jean Hunter, who was drafted in for 12 months to lead a raft of improvements across the authority.
South Ribble Council leader, Coun Peter Mullineaux said: “The council is at the start of a very important improvement journey that includes a transition from the current, traditional top-down management structure towards a modern, proactive, agile and innovative new leadership model.”
He added: “The council approved a new management structure in November that will deliver those ambitions and, subsequently, two of our senior managers have decided to take voluntary redundancy.”