Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Town clerk announces retirement next year

HENLEY’S town clerk is to retire next year after more than seven years.

HENLEY’S town clerk is to retire next year after more than seven years.

Mike Kennedy, 59, will leave on Friday, February 12.

He said: “I have decided to retire as I will be 60 in December. I’ve written to the Mayor in accordance with my contract. I’m obliged to give four months’ written notice.

“It has taken a while to reach that decision, having talked to my wife and my financial advisor!

“You can’t just go into these things lightly but Glenda has been retired now for three years. Her mum is getting poorly and she needs almost constant care.

“Three grandchildren take up a lot of time and I have other things I would like to pursue, including the church.”

Mr Kennedy, whose wife was also a council clerk, is the treasurer of St Peter’s and St Leonard’s Church in Iver, Buckinghamshire, where they live.

He said: “There’s a lot more to do and they always say when you retire you’re busier than you ever were so bring it on.

“I’ve always got ambitions — whether they actually come to fruition God knows. I’d like to be a scorer for a cricket team. I shall probably watch Middlesex a lot as well.”

Mr Kennedy said highlights of his tenure included the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, adding: “I know it’s still going on but there was an awful lot of work that went into that.”

He oversaw the development of the new astropitch at Jubilee Park and the move of the visitor information centre from King’s Arms Barn to the town hall and brought the grounds maintenance operation back “in house” so the council’s parks team could deal with verges.

He also guided the Townlands Steering Group through a “rocky” period when there were issues over its governance and helped introduce a town centre manager.

“We have done a lot,” he said. “It has been a team effort really with the councillors and the staff.”

Mr Kennedy has spent a total of 26 years as a town clerk. From 1989 to 2002 he worked for Chesham Town Council and then for Huntingdon Town Council from 2002 to 2007.

He then worked for Ware Town Council for about 18 months before moving to Henley.

He said: “I care about all the councils I’ve worked for because I’m very passionate about this level of local  government.

“The energy that the councillors bring to the meetings, the commitment to the town, it just rubs off on you

“Of course it will be a wrench to leave when I do but no one goes on forever and I’m sure my successor will bring some new ideas.

“It’s an exciting time to be in this level of local government and I think there’s a lot more to do.”

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