Sunderland City Council chief executive gets OBE in King's Birthday Honours List

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Image: Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, Patrick Melia OBE. Submitted picture.

The top officer at Sunderland City Council has been awarded a gong in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

Sunderland City Council Chief Executive Patrick Melia has been given an OBE for services to local government.

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Patrick, who took up the Sunderland post in 2018, was born in Jarrow and has lived in South Tyneside all his life. He is married to Janet and has three children.

He started his public service career in 1984 as a 16-year-old clerical officer with South Tyneside Council.

With further experience of working in local government finance and an MBA from Durham University Business School, Patrick went on to be a Corporate Director at South Tyneside Council, and held senior positions in the police and the probation service.

Before joining Sunderland City Council, he was chief executive at North Tyneside Council from 2013.

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Mr Melia said: "As a 16-year-old school leaver, I could never have dreamt how 40 years later I would be honoured in this way.

"I do genuinely believe that this is a wider tribute to the many people who have helped me, shaped me and guided me over the years, and especially those I have been lucky enough to work with.

“I have always felt very proud of our region, always been driven by a sense of service to those around me, and always wanted to help ensure that everybody gets more opportunities and that together we can all help make the North East an even better place to live and work in.

"If you're a young person starting out today in the world of work, I hope I have also illustrated that it is possible to remain close to your roots, take up local opportunities and make and shape positive and progressive change for our communities and people."

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Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Michael Mordey said: "On behalf of residents across our city, councillors and council officers, and the many others who know and who have worked with Patrick over the years, I want to place on record our congratulations for his strong and continued sterling service to Sunderland and all of our region.

"This honour is testament to the positive change that he has brought and continues to bring, and how he has helped guide our city and region forward."

Sunderland City Council said Mr Melia has led the ongoing drive for a more prosperous, dynamic, healthy, vibrant and digitally connected city during his time at the authority.

The local authority said he has been especially focused on ensuring that opportunities are created for all residents so they can have healthier, happier and more financially independent lives, alongside creating the conditions for businesses to grow and thrive.

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It added that he has helped drive forward major regeneration works that have secured hundreds of millions of pounds of public and private sector investment.

This includes the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) that is creating thousands of new jobs and opportunities, and the £100million of investment from institutional investor Legal & General in Riverside Sunderland, which is transforming central Sunderland.

Mr Melia has also led innovative work to establish Sunderland as the UK's leading Smart City, driving digital connectivity and developing new digital applications for the benefit of residents and businesses, the authority said.

In the last year, he played a leading role in securing the trailblazing Devolution Deal for the North East and in progressing the Crown Works Studios project. Crown Works will establish Sunderland as one of Europe’s largest film and high-end TV production locations by creating more than 8,000 jobs and bringing a £336million annual boost to the North East’s economy.

The project has been widely recognised as a 'game-changer' and as big as Nissan's decision to locate to Sunderland in the 1980s.

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