New council chief executive appointed in under ten minutes

A Somerset council has agreed to appoint its new chief executive – who has the same name as an existing councillor. Somerset West and Taunton Council has agreed to appoint Andrew Pritchard as its new chief executive following the departure of James Hassett. Mr Pritchard has worked for the council since January 2020, joining as director of external operations and climate change following a lengthy career elsewhere in the public sector.

: Taunton mum’s plea after dad of two killed by truck while riding motorbike He also shares his name with Andrew (Andy) Pritchard, the Green Party councillor for West Monkton and Cheddon Fitzpaine who was elected in 2019. It took the full council less than ten minutes to approve Andrew Pritchard’s appointment when it met in Taunton on Tuesday evening (November 16).

Council leader Federica Smith-Roberts said: “Over the past two-and-a-half years, we have faced many challenges – but also lots of opportunities in the way that we can look to help our residents. “Under our leadership, we’ve managed to achieve many great things during times that are very challenging – including the pandemic and the transformation not going to plan when the council was formed. “When we were looking for a chief executive, we looked to recruit someone who was ambitious because the next 18 months is going to be hard in the life of our council, as it’s wound up towards the creation of a new unitary authority.

We can’t take our foot off the pedal.” Mr Pritchard will earn GBP118,000 a year under his new position, not including any fees for serving as returning officer during the upcoming elections. We want to hear your thoughts on this story, so please log in and leave your comment below.

Speaking after his appointment, Mr Pritchard said: “This council is focused on delivering excellent services, improving our communities, and ensuring our residents and businesses are supported.

“We have achieved a lot in the short time since we were established, all thanks to the commitment of staff and members, so it’s a privilege to be asked to lead the council as we enter a period of significant change.”