Town council plans to recruit two new managers to 'improve financial management and efficiency'

PUBLISHED: 12:59 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:59 04 November 2019

Pet Parker-Barnes (left) with Paul Gardner and Sue Winfield. Picture: Tracey Fowler

Pet Parker-Barnes (left) with Paul Gardner and Sue Winfield. Picture: Tracey Fowler

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A local authority has announced plans to recruit staff to 'improve its financial management and efficiency' after it revealed it expects to lose tens of thousands of pounds this year.

Portishead Town Council hopes to employ a finance and administration manager and an economic development manager following the announcement it anticipates losses of more than £50,000 over a two-year period.

The losses were blamed on 'financial vandalism' from previous councillors who had set a 'dangerously low' precept - the portion of council tax collected by parish councils.

The new administration, which took control following May's election, hopes to remedy the problem by not only increasing the precept next year - but also by bolstering its staff.

The town council also plans to recruit a community engagement officer.

Its staffing and finance chairman, Bob Bull, said: "It is an exciting time for the town council.

"We have carried out an extensive review of staffing levels and are in the process of recruiting in a number of areas.

"We believe the staff are the foundation of the council and with a population approaching 30,000 and many very exciting projects in the pipeline, it is essential we engage the right personnel to work alongside the existing staff, so that together we can ensure the developing plans are all brought to fruition and on budget.

"We hope residents will recognise these engagements as concrete foundations for our quest to see Portishead become the best town in North Somerset."

The town council is yet to replace clerk Andrea Durn, who resigned in August after less than 10 months in the role to pursue 'opportunities closer to home'.

The authority has also seen administration officer Sue Winfield leave in October, and she has been replaced by Pet Parker-Barnes.

Chairman Paul Gardner praised Ms Winfield - a former police community support officer in Portishead - for her efforts, which has 'seen the council through some challenging and changing times'.

He said: "Sue has given the council excellent service over the past six years; we thank her for all her hard work and wish her well in her new journey."

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