Clare Hadley signs off as chief executive of the Rangitikei District Council today after five years and believes the district is in good heart.
"I've been really, really lucky to have been given the opportunity to work here," she said.
When Mrs Hadley took on the role in 2007, she was faced with an organisation battling low morale and high staff turnover.
"It was a sad old organisation when I joined," Mrs Hadley said.
"I just found that it was an organisation that needed to believe in itself," she said.
In Mrs Hadley's time at the helm, the council has gone through a raft of structural changes.
These include shared services with councils, more internal appointments and bringing consultation in-house.
Rangitikei's large area and declining population helped change and create ideas, she said.
"I think it's forced us to be more innovative about how we do things."
Mrs Hadley believes the organisation is in better spirits now and she hails the support she has received from council staff.
It was the right time for a change and to let someone else take the reins, she said.
She will take up the same role at the Nelson City Council from Monday, adding to her more than 20 years in local government, including a period in Palmerston North.
"What I'm an advocate of is understanding that local government is not a corporate beast," Mrs Hadley said.
Mayor Chalky Leary paid tribute to the turnaround Mrs Hadley had created at the council.
"We will miss her drive and expertise," he said.
Council community services group manager Michael Hodder has been appointed acting chief executive
- Manawatu Standard
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