Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 20:13 UK

City chief defends quit decision

Stoke Town Hall
Mr Robinson has been criticised for quitting the city council

The chief executive of Stoke-on-Trent City Council has said he is leaving the authority because of the success he has had in helping to turn it around.

Steve Robinson was criticised for quitting while the future of the authority's governance is in doubt.

It is holding a referendum on whether to replace its current system of being ruled by an elected mayor.

But Mr Robinson said West Cheshire and Chester Council appointed him because Stoke-on-Trent had made improvements.

It is now considered a three-star authority by the Audit Commission after being branded the worst performing in the country in 2007, when it was given only one star.

'Absolutely marvellous'

Mr Robinson said: "What the councillors in West Cheshire and Chester were looking for was a chief executive with a proven track record of achievement.

"What they saw was what we'd achieved here in Stoke-on-Trent in the last 18 months has been absolutely marvellous.

"They're saying if that's what can be done in Stoke-on-Trent, that's what we need to do in West Cheshire and Chester and they clearly thought I was the person to do that."

Mr Robinson, who joined the city council in October 2006, said he was attracted to the challenge of setting up West Cheshire and Chester, which is a new unitary authority.

He added: "It's never a good time for a chief executive to leave a council, it will always be the wrong time.

"The council is now a three-star council, it is improving well, it has got a way forward and it will attract the best people in local government who will want to come and work in Stoke-on-Trent and carry on the good work that has been started here."

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