Top council figure loses job

PUBLISHED: 15:25 07 October 2011 | UPDATED: 16:50 11 October 2011

Archant

ONE of the council's most senior figures has lost his job as part of the authority's cutbacks.

North Somerset Council’s director of finance and resources, Phil Hall, has seen his post disappear in a move that will reduce salary costs by £165,000 a year.

The move came after a meeting of the authority’s employment committee earlier today, but the council has said it does not mean the finance brief will be merged with the role of chief executive Graham Turner.

The Mercury understands Mr Hall will receive a payoff of around £55,000 as a result of his redundancy.

Cllr Tony Lake, the employment committee chairman, said: “The number of staff employed in central services has reduced by more than a third in the last two years, largely as a result of outsourcing a number of support functions to the private sector.

“This presents an opportunity to rationalise senior management structures and the employment committee agreed unanimously to endorse the proposal to merge our two central services directorates under the leadership of the chief executive officer, which would result in the deletion of the post of director of finance and resources.

“I should make it clear that this proposal is not a merger of the two roles. The chief executive officer role remains, and is crucial to the stability of our organisation given the challenges we continue to face.”

Mike Bell, group leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats, said: ““I am pleased that the Conservative administration has reacted positively to our suggestion to cut management costs, which I first made some months ago.

“It is the right decision, though personally I would have deleted the chief executive post and made greater savings still.

“The council faces making massive cuts over the next few years and we must show that savings are being made at the top as well as the bottom.

“Now, we will be looking to see progress on some of the other suggestions that we have made, including withdrawal of the scandalous taxpayer-funded pension scheme for councillors which is costing local people tens of thousands of pounds a year. Lining the pockets of councillors in retirement simply cannot be a priority.”

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