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Hampshire County Council hires new boss to tackle the credit crunch
7:19am Monday 22nd October 2012 in News
COUNTY council bosses have hired a new £83,000 executive – just a year after culling senior managers.
David Fletcher, 47, has been appointed to the post of assistant director for economic development with a brief to boost the local economy and tackle the credit crunch.
Just 12 months ago Alison Quant took early retirement from her £140,000 director of economic development post.
Her job was axed and the economic department merged with the environment and transport department as a cost-cutting measure.
Now the new taxpayer-funded position has been created by Tory council chiefs in a bid to “bring clear direction and impetus to develop Hampshire’s economy”.
Mr Fletcher will be paid up to £83,000 plus contributions to his final salary pension worth thousands more.
His appointment comes against a backdrop of the councils cutting the number of managers by 25 per cent.
The local authority had 359 managers earning between £50,000 and £125,000 in March 2012 compared to 451 the previous year.
By April 2014 the county council will have 1,700 fewer staff than in 2010, with net savings of £46m on its salary bill.
But the new post has been slammed by an anti-tax group as sending out the wrong message at a time of general belttightening.
Christine Melsom, founder of IsItFair, said: “His pay and pension will be worth nearly £100,000 a year. The last thing local taxpayers need is a big bill for a new council manager.“
"It is sending out the wrong message. We are all having to tighten our belts and the council should too.”
Bosses at the county council said Mr Fletcher would lead a drive to increase Hampshire’s economic prosperity, including inward investment, tourism, and enterprise.
His role will involve working with other local authorities, the Solent and Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnerships.
Mr Fletcher, a father-of-two, has spent the past ten years working as head of an economic development body in Sheffield.
Other previous posts include a senior business development role in the property and construction sector with Wimpey.
Councillor Keith House, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on the county council, said: “The proof for or against this new post will come against the number of jobs created and the amount of extra growth in the Hampshire economy.”