Cork county manger Martin Riordan, 58, wrote to county councillors yesterday to tell them he has not exercised an option to extend his current seven-year contract by a further three years.
“I also wish to advise that I will not be seeking a further contract as Cork county manager on the expiry of my current contract,” he said.
“I wish to record my deep appreciation for the support of both members and staff of the council over the last seven years, which were both challenging and rewarding.”
The Department of Environment will now begin making arrangements to fill the €162,000 post, with an appointment expected by next February.
Mr O’Riordan said he had given the matter some thought in recent months before finally deciding it was best to go at the end of his contract.
“I’ve been in the job for seven years and it has been both rewarding and challenging and I just felt the time was right to go at the end of the year.”
He said he has no immediate plans to pursue another career.
County mayor Noel O’Connor led tributes to Mr Riordan last night.
“He has been very effective manager, bringing us through a difficult period,” he said.
“He managed to control the finances of this major organisation to ensure we are still able to forge ahead with economic development projects while ensuring that essential services are maintained. To manage that and still command respect from councillors and his peers is huge testimony to his ability.”
Cork County Council is the largest local authority in Ireland, providing services to about 400,000 people across the county.
When Mr Riordan was appointed in 2007, the council had a staff compliment of almost 2,900, with revenue and capital turnover in the order of €714m with revenue expenditure totalling €348m.
However, during the economic downturn, and as local government reforms kicked in, its budget and staffing numbers were slashed.
By 2012, its payroll costs has been reduced from almost €140m to just over €116m, with staffing numbers reduced by 688 — a reduction of almost 20%.
During his time, Mr Riordan oversaw massive investment in water and wastewater facilities.
The N8 Fermoy-Mitchelstown scheme opened, the council sold its refuse collection service to Country Clean in 2010, and CPOs are planned for the Macroom bypass.
He also established an economic development fund and oversaw the vision for the Cork Science Park project at Curraheen.
Mr Riordan has spent more than 30 years in public service, mostly in local government.
Born in Dublin, he began his career as a clerical officer in the former Dublin Corporation, and has worked in Waterford City Council, the former South Eastern Health Board, Donegal County Council, and in the finance department of Cork City Council.
He left Cork to take up an appointment as Laois county manager in 2003, before he took the job as Kerry county manager in August of 2004.
He took over at the head of Cork County Council in 2007 from Maurice Moloney, who had been county manager since 1998.