DOWN District Council has bid farewell to Ms Sharon O’Connor, the Director of Economic and Cultural Development, after her eleven and a half year’s service.
Last week (Monday 26th September) at a full council meeting, Council Vice Chairman Liam Johnston said that Ms O’Connor will leave her post on Friday 14th October to take up the new position of Chief Executive of Derry City Council.
Councillor and colleagues from the Senior Management Team hosted a farewell presentation in the Council Headquarters to acknowledge her service and achievements. There were tributes paid to Ms O’Connor from the vice-chairman, speakers from the political parties and from the Senior Management Team.
Speaking on behalf of the Council, Cllr Liam Johnston, vice chairman, said, “Sharon has always worked for the best interests of the entire district, our ratepayers and our staff. Much has been achieved over the past eleven years in our district as a result of Sharon’s vision, hard work and persistent ambition.
“Sharon has played a leading role along with the Chief Executive, Directors and others to realise these achievements.”
Cllr Johnston added, “I wish Ms O’Connor every success in her future career, and I have no doubt that the experience Sharon gained from working in Down District Council will benefit her in her new post which she will take up with Derry City Council.
Sharon O’Connor said, “This moment is very emotional for me. It is tinged with sadness as I will be leaving work colleagues behind, and members of the Senior Management Team whose advice I have valued a great deal. In looking forward I certainly would like to invite you all up to Derry in 2013 to enjoy the events during the City of Culture celebrations to take place next year.”
“The highlights of her achievements,” said, “Cllr Johnston, “included the following…”
* Completion of a £11 million refurbishment of the Newcastle Promenade and Streetscape which has received a number of awards.
* Completion of the Environmental Improvement Scheme in Ardglass securing an investment of £1.3 million.
* Completion of a £7.5 million Downnpatrick Public Realm works.
* The development of a cultural quarter in Downpatrick and the £1.2 million refurbishment and extension of Down Arts Centre due to open in Autumn 2011.
* Instrumental in leading on the Downpatrick and Ballynahinch and Development plans and the Downpatrick Masterplan.
* Instigated the successful Beyond Programme for local SME’s.
* Pursued the business case for Downpatrick in trying to attract public sector jobs.
* Responsible fro renewing the cultural assets of the district by the renewal of the Down County Museum.
* Responsible for the installation of 11 pieces of high quality public art through the District.
* First local government officer in Northern Ireland to achieve Chartered Director status.
* Received the Public Sector Director of the Year Award award 2009/10.
After the tributes paid to Ms O’Connor, The Council vice chairman Liam Johnston presented her with a bunch of flowers.