Valerie bids Derry farewell

Valerie Watts’ reign as Derry’s Town Clerk will come to an end today.

Derry City Council’s first Chief Executive, who was appointed in July 2008, is due to take up her new role as CEO of Aberdeen City Council later this month.

The local council has yet to advertise for applications for the vacancy. Deputy Chief Executive John Meehan will take over the role until a new appointment is made.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council said the “role will be advertised in the coming weeks with a view to recruiting the person as soon as possible”.

During her time in office, Ms Watts vowed to cut the council’s overtime, sickness and mileage costs. She also helped spearhead the city’s successful bid to be UK City of Culture 2013 and set in motion a controversial restructuring plan to transform the management of the local authority by merging council departments into three directorates.

The council confirmed yesterday that it remains “committed to progressing with the Transforming Derry City Council report in full consultation with employees and their union representatives”.

Ms Watts recently said she had enjoyed her time in Derry “immensely”.

“I believe the city has many opportunities ahead and that strong partnerships are in place to move the city forward. We should all be proud of achievements and partnerships between the public, private and community sector. I will always look for opportunities to promote the city and region,” she stated.

Paying tribute to Ms Watts, Mayor Colum Eastwood said: “We all worked well with Valerie and she’ll be very difficult to replace. But we’ll be working very hard to have a new appointment in place as soon as possible.”