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Outgoing Poole council chief executive warns of “lots more pain to come”
RETIRING Poole council chief executive John McBride is warning that there is “lots more pain to come” over the budget.
With Borough of Poole having to find further savings of £23million over the next four years, on top of £30m already cut, he said: “There is bound to be a lot of pain. The sooner we get to grips with that. It’s a whacking big number.
“Whatever happens we have still got £110million a year so we still ought to be able to do something good,” he said.
Mr McBride, who aims to leave the council he has led for 12 years next summer, said his piece of advice for any successor would be: “It’s a great job”.
He said the achievements he was most proud of included the Twin Sails Bridge – which he has been involved with since 1997 – the £50m spent on schools and the change in the age of transfer.
Delivering really good services for local people and developing proper partnerships with the public and private sector, were others.
“What I am proudest of is working for an organisation with a group of staff that are really dedicated to the well-being of people,” he said.
“It’s been a huge pleasure and privilege to do that.”
Having worked for local authorities since the age of 21, he arrived in Poole in 1986 from York as assistant treasurer and came back in 1996 as a policy director, rising to chief executive in 2002 and working with three council leaders, Brian Clements, Brian Leverett and Elaine Atkinson.
With his 60th birthday approaching next year, he said that was the time to go. “I’m pleased for the council, they can get on and start thinking about the future rather than worrying about the past and the budget,” he said.
“He’s inspirational to work with,” said Cllr Atkinson.
“Since I have been leader things have been incredibly tough and with no overall control, John has got the pace right and kept the staff and members properly informed and included.”
A seven-strong cross-party working group will explore all options for his replacement.
This will include looking at sharing a chief executive with another authority, having a managing director and other ideas.
A chief executive is an appointment made by councillors and if they did decide to appoint a replacement they would aim to advertise the job before the end of the year and make an appointment in December.
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