THE leader of West Dorset District Council has paid tribute to outgoing chief executive David Clarke, pictured.

At Mr Clarke’s final executive committee before he retires later this month, council leader Robert Gould spoke of ‘exceptional’ service he had given to the authority.

Cllr Gould said: “This is the last time that David will be here as chief executive and I think we must pay a huge debt of gratitude to all that he’s done over his time as chief executive and prior to that as a director of this authority as well.

He added: “His leadership has been exceptional. He’s represented the very best in public service and we have been an extremely fortunate authority in having his service.”

Mr Clarke, who was also made the first joint chief executive of West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said it had been a ‘privilege and an honour’ to serve the authority.

“I’m leaving with a real sense of pride in what the management team and all the staff have achieved through one of the most difficult times local government has faced in the last 40 years.”