HDC nears three-year management cuts target in a year

WITH the imminent departure of two more senior managers, Huntingdonshire District Council has almost achieved its three-year cost-cutting target of virtually halving the number of its senior managers in well under a year.

Chief executive David Monks left last month on voluntary severance terms, as had other senior people earlier in the year.

The next to leave are expected to be director of central services Ian Leatherbarrow and Corrine Garbett, head of people performance and partnerships.

Mr Leatherbarrow was one of four in the very top echelon, but there will be space for only two in the new-look slimline authority – joint managing directors Terry Parker and Malcolm Sharp. Mrs Garbett had succeeded Mr Leatherbarrow when he was promoted from head of policy in November 2009.

The latest move brings the number of full-time-equivalent posts to go at HDC to 63, and the number of senior managers down from 16 a year ago to 11. the three-year target is nine.

Both Mr Leatherbarrow and Mrs Garbett played key roles in HDC’s economic development activities, but their imminent departure should not be seen as reducing the council’s commitment to the district’s businesses, Terry Parker told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday).

“The emphasis on economic development will continue to be high politically and among the officers. It is under the leadership of Jason Ablewhite [council leader] and both managing directors are personally involved, Malcolm Sharp in particular.

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“Bidding for and getting the enterprise zone at Alconbury was an enormous success, and there are a number of other projects we are working on, such as Huntingdon West. Economic development will form part of the corporate team.

“Although the team will be smaller, it will be much more closely associated with the two MDs and the leader and deputy leader, but we shall eliminate some of the management cost.

Helen Donnellan has been appointed to lead the new team, and a staff consultation on a proposed new structure is expected to start next month, Mr Parker added.

“We have sorted out the senior management and the rest of the team will follow.”