10.01.19

Bournemouth boss redundancy to cost £475,000 ahead of planned merger

The redundancy of Bournemouth Borough Council’s managing director ahead of a planned merger of Dorset councils will cost around £475,000.

Two new unitary authorities will replace the county’s nine councils in April, but Bournemouth council’s boss Jane Portman was unsuccessful in her application to be the new chief executive of the future Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council.

Having missed out on the new top job, Portman has announced her departure, and will receive a severance package of almost £475,000.

The council paid tribute to Portman, saying she would be “greatly missed” and had given “many years of excellent local government service.”

In October, Debbie Ward announced that she would be leaving her role as chief executive of Dorset County Council ahead of the merger and that she would receive the same pay-out.

One of the new unitary authorities said in August that redundancy costs for its four chief executives would cost £1m, whilst the other unitary reported that it allocated £1.5m for redundancies.

Portman has worked for Bournemouth Borough Council for 12 years as well as working at Poole for four years, and applied to work at the new council – but the post has reportedly gone to HM chief land registrar Graham Farrant.

She has had a 33-year career in the public sector, and has worked across Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Northamptonshire, Bristol, and Poole councils.

Jane said: “Every one of my 33 years in public and voluntary service has been a pleasure and a privilege. I have immensely enjoyed serving the residents of Bournemouth and Poole.

“I am proud to have led the local government reorganisation programme for BCP Council, and I wish the new Council every success for the future.”

She added: “I absolutely must pay tribute to our fantastic workforce and our partners across so many sectors. Their professionalism and dedication are second to none, working together every day for the best interests of our residents. I am confident I leave behind me staff that are ready to continue in that vein for BCP Council in the future.”

The Christchurch Borough Council leader, David Flagg, was deselected by the council last month after leading a legal battle against the merger deal with Bournemouth and Poole, and described the selection process as “political cleansing.”

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