THE chief executive of a Somerset council will not receive any form of “exit package” or other compensation as he leaves to take up a new post in New Zealand.

South Somerset District Council announced on Monday afternoon (April 19) that its chief executive Alex Parmley would be stepping down after nearly five years in the role.

Mr Parmley will be relocating with his family to New Zealand’s South Island, taking up a post as chief executive of Waitaki District Council.

Somerset officials have now “categorically confirmed” that Mr Parmley will not receive any exit payment – and that his departure is not related in any way to the ongoing debate surrounding the future of Somerset’s local government.

Mr Parmley joined the council in October 2016 after working as a corporate director at Eastleigh Borough Council near Southampton.

The appointment wasn’t his first foray into West Country politics, having previously worked for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council as a director and general manager.

Mr Parmley’s tenure at South Somerset has included significant steps forward with regeneration schemes in Chard, Wincanton and Yeovil, as well as steering the organisation through a transformation programme.

His time in charges has also seen significant sums invested in commercial properties to fund front-line services and the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yeovil Express: South Somerset District Council Chief Executive Alex Parmley. CREDIT: South Somerset District Council. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

Speaking on Monday (April 19), he said: “It has been an immense privilege to serve as the council’s chief executive and to work with such a fantastic team of colleagues who work tirelessly always with a focus on our residents.

“I am hugely proud of what we have achieved and I look to take forward the same ambition to my new role in Waitaki.

“My wife is a New Zealander and we have long held a plan that we would relocate there with our family.”

Mr Parmley’s departure coincides with the end of a consultation on the future of local government in Somerset, which could see the five existing councils replaced with either a single unitary or two unitaries by 2023.

The council has confirmed that Mr Parmley’s exit was unrelated to this consultation – and that he would not be receiving any compensation for leaving the role.

A spokesman said: “This is entirely a personal family decision taken by Alex. He has a long-held ambition to move with his family to New Zealand.

“We can categorically confirm that, as Alex has resigned to take up the new post in Waitaki, there is no exit package or anything or that nature.”

Mr Parmley will formally step down as chief executive on July 11, with the council hoping to line up an interim replacement by the full council meeting in May.

Council leader Val Keitch said: “On behalf of all of our members, I want to thank Alex for the tireless work has undertaken over the past five years.

“He has made such a difference to the lives of all those living in South Somerset and across the region through his work with partners and on the future of local government.

“In particular, I want to thank him for the role his leadership has played in ensuring this council could do so much to support residents through the covid-19 crisis, from setting up the county’s first well-being hub to redeploying hundreds of staff to support vaccination and testing centres while still delivering vital services.

“There is no doubt that he leaves behind an organisation which is much better equipped to deal with future challenges and continue to provide the best possible services for our residents, focused on delivering the right outcomes for our towns and villages.”