Cull of managers agreed by council

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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A MAJOR cull of senior town hall managers has been given the go-ahead.

The wielding of the axe to scrap five top roles was the first decision made by Blackpool Council’s new executive committee which met for the first time yesterday.

The move will save £1.8m over the next four years, with some of the savings already being used to help save Boundary Library on Grange Park.

Those whose jobs are going are executive director of tourism and regeneration Helen France, assistant chief executive for policy, transformation and communications Fiona McGrath, director of resources Andrew Pollock and assistant director neighbourhood services Russ Weaver, a former Blackpool police chief.

The post of head of performance and planning in the children, adult and family services directorate is already vacant.

There has been criticism of the decision not to have a senior officer dedicated to tourism with Tory group deputy leader Coun Tony Williams accusing Labour of “seriously compromising” the town’s economy by scrapping the role.

But Coun Eddie Collett, re-elected to the council, said: “In the four years I was away things have changed so much,

“Four years ago we were able to look forward to an expanding budget.

“Four years later, with a change of government, everything has changed.

“Going back to basics is what we have to do.”

Deputy leader Coun Fred Jackson said: “It was part of our pledges to the electorate that we would reduce the cost of democracy.”

Coun Ivan Taylor thanked the officers, including chief executive Steve Weaver who has chosen to retire at the end of the year, for their work.

He said: “I think we should recognise the significance of what they have contributed.

“I think Steve Weaver has been a tremendous servant of this authority since he was appointed and has pushed through huge developments.”

Under the new structure, responsibility for tourism and regeneration will be absorbed by the chief executive’s department under Alan Cavill.

Labour has repeatedly said tourism remains a priority. But Coun Williams warned: “We need a dedicated, focused and experienced individual whose absolute purpose is to maintain the recent excellent visitor number increases the Conservative administration were able to deliver.”