One of the two remaining top directors at Gloucester City Council has quit his job just weeks after chief executive Julian Wain departed.
Peter Gillett, director of resources, had just taken on the role of sharing Mr Wain’s job with Martin Shields, director of neighbourhoods and services, after councillors agreed not to replace the chief executive.
But council staff were told in an e-mail last week that Mr Gillett himself is now leaving the local authority after being offered a top job at Bristol City Council.
Council leader Paul James has sought to allay staff fears that the authority is becoming headless but admitted that the timing of the departure was not ideal.
Mr James said: “In an ideal world, following recent events, we would not have wanted another change to the senior management team so soon. But I congratulate Peter Gillett on securing such an important role and I take pride that a major authority such as Bristol has recruited one of our officers into a senior position.
“I am very conscious that senior management capacity at the council is stretched and we will be not be looking to take this post as a saving.
“However, we will consider the most effective way we can use the resources available to contribute to the overall performance of the organisation and to the council’s priorities.”
Family man Mr Gillett is thought to be departing the city council in mid-July as he relocates to Bristol with his wife and children.
His relocation also leaves the council without a returning officer after the May 22 city and European elections, although it is like that Mr Shields will step into the breach.
Councillors previously expressed concerns that not replacing Mr Wain, who left his £110,000 post in March, could put too much pressure on the top of the organisation.
The council agreed to trial running the authority without a chief executive for six months, with Mr Gillett and Mr Shields effectively running the show together.
But councillor Kate Haigh, leader of the Labour group, warned: “It is really important that this is for six months so that we can have a proper review to see if it works.”