BURY Council's top officer is quitting his £80,000-plus a year job after 35 years of local government service.

Chief executive Dennis Taylor, 53, says the time is right for a career change and is taking early retirement.

He says it is time for a new boss to lead the council through "the most fundamental changes to local government since Victorian times".

Mr Taylor joined Bury in 1989 as managing director of Bury Contract Services, succeeding the late David Burton as chief executive in 1997.

He said he had been thinking about retiring for some some months and added that Government plans to modernise councils would mean much more responsibility being passed to councillors, especially those in the cabinet.

He said: "My style has been up front, hands-on, but the new system requires different skills and experiences, and the council needs to have the right blend of support staff available when the new regime gets under way."

Mr Taylor will leave in November, and says he will still live in Bury.

Councillor Derek Boden, council leader, said Mr Taylor had made an outstanding contribution to the council.