New chief executive for Derry and Strabane super council

John Kelpie Image copyright Derry City Council
Image caption John Kelpie will take over when the body is formed in April 2015

A new chief executive has been appointed to the Derry and Strabane super council.

John Kelpie, who is currently the strategic director with Derry City Council, will take over when the body is formed in April 2015.

The group in charge of getting ready for the change is the Statutory Transition Committee (STC).

The chairman, Sinn Fein councillor Kieran McGuire, congratulated Mr Kelpie on his appointment.

"This is a very daunting task for any person to take on," he said.

"There are massive changes coming our way and John has demonstrated that he can facilitate and promote this change.

"The STC is also very grateful to both the existing chief executives within the existing councils for the leadership that they have demonstrated in the transition and reform programme to date."

'Leadership'

SDLP councillor Gerard Diver told BBC Radio Foyle that Mr Kelpie was capable of handling the challenges that lie ahead.

"John is an extremely capable person who has a proven track record of working in local government. I wish him every success," he said.

"Obviously a very important aspect of this role is going to be trying to capitalise and build on the opportunities created.

"John has brought a degree of creativity to his work and he has the leadership skills that we are looking for.

"Councils are going to be taking on additional powers in terms of planning and community development."

The elections for the new council will take place in May.

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