Northumberland chief exec steps down

NORTHUMBERLAND County Council's chief executive Steven Mason is stepping down after nearly 15 years with the authority.

Mason has held a number of senior roles at Northumberland and has been chief executive for the past three years.

He is leaving to pursue fresh challenges, the council said.

Mason's decision comes after the Conservatives formed a new administration and approved the creation of five new local area councils with devolved budgets and decision-making powers.

The Conservatives hold 33 of the council's 67 seats but were denied overall control at the local elections when they lost a seat to the Liberal Democrats after drawing straws following a dead heat.  

"During my time the council has faced many challenges, most notably local government reorganisation and the impact of cuts in local government funding over an extended period of time," Mason said.

"The council's approach and direction will change significantly following the recent county council election and it is an appropriate time for new managerial leadership at a time when the political leadership has changed with a radically different agenda."

Deputy chief executive Daljit Lally will act as interim chief executive.