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Karen Satterford to leave WDC

At last night’s meeting of full council, the leader of the council, Cllr Katrina Wood, announced that the Chief Executive, Karen Satterford, will be leaving Wycombe District Council on 31 July 2019 after 13 and a half years of service to the council.

Cllr Katrina Wood, Leader of Wycombe District Council, led to the tributes to Karen Satterford and said: “It falls to me to publically announce a decision taken by this council earlier this evening regarding the chief executive role. With the establishment of the new Buckinghamshire Council fast moving its way towards 1 April 2020, the role of our chief executive has already and will continue to diminish over the final months. This council has therefore agreed that our chief executive, Karen Satterford, will leave the council on 31 July.

“I would like to pay tribute to Karen’s work with this council.  There will be time before she goes to say proper goodbyes, but for now I will say that she has given over 13 years’ service to this council and over 40 years in local government, with 18 of those as a chief executive.

“This council has achieved so much over this time with Karen at the helm. Wycombe District Council is a well-run, highly respected and envied council especially in local government circles, with our achievements and our innovative and challenging work. We are financially sound, have no borrowing, good reserves and have kept our council tax down, only raising it a couple of times in the last eight years. We have a history of regenerating our district and our town with too many successes to list now or we will be here all evening. This doesn’t happen by chance. While members make the decisions, someone has to ensure those decisions happen.

“Karen has led and steered this council to its position during her time here, with her inclusive, inspiring and motivational leadership. Guiding members to do the best for the district with sound advice and wise counsel, Karen is well respected by all who know her and her passion for Wycombe is never in doubt. She is always on the side of the staff, the members and the council and her wisdom and foresight are invaluable.  I cannot thank her enough for the support and advice she has given me as leader during my term and I am sure that will go for all the other leaders and members she has worked with.”

Ms Satterford had previously shared with staff and council members that she would not be applying for the role of chief executive of the new Buckinghamshire Council.

Following the announcement about her leaving date, Ms Satterford said: “It has been my immense privilege to have been chief executive of Wycombe District Council. Over the last 13 and a half years, we’ve achieved a lot for our residents and there’s a great deal to be proud of. At Wycombe District Council, we have a culture of mutual respect between officers and members and have created a working environment that at times feels like family. We have real talent here and it’s been a privilege to work with all of you. I’m proud to have been the first female chief executive of this council – I just didn’t expect to be the last.”

The legally-required role of Head of Paid Service will transfer to Corporate Director John East; Catherine Whitehead, Head of Democratic, Legal and Policy Services will act as the council’s Returning Officer in the event of an election.

With Ms Satterford leaving the council earlier than 31 March 2020, there will be a saving to the council and to local taxpayers.