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Woking Borough Council's chief executive quits

Julie Fisher
Julie Fisher said she believed indebted Woking Borough Council was "on the path to recovery"

Woking Borough Council has been left potentially rudderless after its chief executive announced she was quitting.

The news leaves the heavily indebted council without permanent appointments across its three most senior roles.

Both its legal and financial bosses are temporary positions.

Julie Fisher took over the top job at the council in April 2021, following questions over the transparency of the recruitment process, replacing Ray Morgan after 14 years in the position.

Ms Fisher said she planned to stay on at the council until February 2024 when it is due to agree a new budget.

The authority imposed emergency spending restrictions on itself due to its £2bn debt.

All spending for non-essential services was halted after a Section 114 notice was issued, effectively declaring the council bankrupt.

'Path to recovery'

Ms Fisher said: "I have made the difficult decision to leave Woking Borough Council.

"I believe the organisation is now firmly on the path to recovery and that now is the right time for me to hand over to somebody with fresh energy to continue to drive Woking's recovery."

Ann-Marie Barker, leader of Woking Borough Council, said Ms Fisher inherited an authority with unprecedented financial, governance and cultural challenges.

"She has put in many long hours to unravel and start to tackle Woking's complex finances," she said.

Leader of the Conservative opposition group, Kevin Davis, said questions needed to be asked as to why so many senior people were either not staying or were not capable of being recruited.

He said: "If you look at the senior leadership team, the finance director is temporary,  the legal monitoring officer is temporary, and the CEO has effectively quit.

"Those three roles are absolutely vital in the running of the council."

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