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Julie Fisher Finally Confirmed as Woking Council’s New CEO

Published on: 24 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 27 Jan, 2021

Julie Fisher, new Woking chief executive. Screenshot of Woking Borough Council meeting webcast.

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Woking Borough Council (WBC) has appointed Julie Fisher as their new chief executive to replace Ray Morgan from April. Ms Fisher worked for WBC since last June as director of community services.

Opposition councillors disgruntled with the “lack of transparency” in the recruitment process had cast doubt on whether they would sign off her appointment.

Woking Borough Council

She was supposed to be welcomed in a fortnight ago, but all non-Conservative councillors unanimously refused to ratify the recruitment panel’s decision before meeting her.

All three opposition groups say they had asked for more information about the recruitment process but it was not provided.

Cllr Tahir Aziz told Tuesday’s meeting (January 19): “It’s not about the individual, it’s about the way the whole process has been conducted. That was flawed.”

Cllr Liam Lyons, who sat on one of the recruitment panels, said it had been organised “shambolically”.

He said: “I think she will be a good thing for Woking, so she [the new chief exec] has my support, but please don’t confuse that with my being impressed with the way the process was run and the poor judgement the leader showed in pressing ahead with this item at the last full council when she was aware so many people had concerns about the way the process was run.”

Council leader Ayesha Azad said the process had been ‘robust’, adding: “I have done my upmost and level best to answer any questions any member has emailed me or spoken to me about.”

Two people were considered well-suited for the post but one pulled out at the end of the process, leading some to feel aggrieved the council had not been a given a choice.

Deputy leader Simon Ashall said: “I will support this transition, not because there’s no other choice but because Julie Fisher deserves it, our staff deserve it and our residents deserve it too.”

None of the 28 councillors present voted against the appointment but seven abstained and the mayor did not use her vote.

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