New Chief Exec Appointed To The Highland Council - Donna Manson
17th September 2018
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.
Mrs Manson was appointed by a senior members' appointment panel on Friday 14 September 2008 and will take up her role following the retirement of Chief Executive, Steve Barron.
Donna started her career teaching in areas of deprivation and has a real passion for reducing inequalities for families. She worked in Education in Edinburgh and Fife before going into her current post with the Scottish Borders Council, where she has gained extensive experience of all Council areas and working with partners as a Corporate Director.
Donna says: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve the public in the Highlands and one of my main priorities is to focus on retaining the talent of our people in their local communities by creating local learning and training opportunities linked to jobs, housing and high quality Council services.
"I am ambitious that the Council is a strong and visible presence in local areas and viewed to be playing a positive and productive role, working with local businesses, partners and the public for the benefit of both local people and visitors to the Highlands. I am confident that the Council can thrive and overcome the challenging budget times and I look forward to being out in communities with staff, listening to people within their local area and working together on matters that are important to them."
Donna has been a regular visitor to all areas in the Highlands for over 30 years as a sailor and hill walker, and when visiting family in Thurso and Inverness with her husband Drew who is from Thurso. She has a grown up son, Andrew. She is fiercely proud of her Highlands family identity, recognising the importance of culture, heritage and tradition in communities. She is delighted to be ‘'bringing the family home to their roots" and having the opportunity to be working and living in the Highlands.
She went on to say: "It is a real honour and privilege to have the opportunity to serve the Highlands with the staff team of Highland Council. This really is a once in a lifetime job in the most amazing place that is the Highlands and so much part of my family."
The Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson said: "I am very pleased and excited to welcome Donna Manson to her new role. Donna will be an excellent Chief Executive - she has great energy and experience that will serve Highland very well. I know she will work well with our staff and I personally am looking forward to working with her."
Anyone thinking of a career change and becoming a Primary or Secondary school teacher is being invited by The Highland Council to an information session to find out how they might become one of the next generation of teachers in Highland. The information event takes place on Saturday 9th March 2019, at Doorways, Central Primary School, Kenneth Street, Inverness, IV3 5DW from 11am - 1pm.
Investment of an additional £1.5m for roads maintenance was approved as a priority area for the Council's revenue budget. The additional money will help to boost the annual budget for pothole repairs, clearing culverts, and bridge maintenance.
Tighter controls on what can be taken to the public recycling centres are set to save £300,000 over the next two financial years. This proposal introduces restrictions on construction and demolition waste brought to our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), limiting quantities to small amounts generated through minor DIY activities.
The main activities that the social enterprise groups currently carry out directly for Highland Council waste management are the servicing of re-use containers on our household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). These currently divert around 150 tonnes from 11 HWRCs.
Newstart Highland that took over Home Aid in Caithness is set to lose a £75,000 grant from 2019/20. The Highland council agreed the reduction at its budget meeting on 14th February 2019.
Planning and building warrant income is to be increased over 3 years as part of the Highland council 3 year budget plan. 2019/20 - £600,000 2020/21 - £328,000 2021/22 - £182,000 Total - £110,000,000 The current income target for planning and building control fees is £4.867m.
Savings of £610,000 are being asked from Highland Highlife in addition to inflationary pressures of £900,000 to be absorbed by the organisation. The arms length organisation has proved to be an outstanding success in the few years since it was floated by the council.
Highland councillors reluctantly agreed to range of increase charges under the community services part of the budget. Many of the charges reflect inflationary increases The total of £2.063 million will be rolled out as follows - 2019/20 - £771,000 2020/21 - £.636,000 2021/22 - £656,000 The split is as follows - Export licences for fish were included in the above figures but a change was agreed at the meeting that should make the saving in total.
Additional Income projected £216k of is projected for thenext three years - 2019/20 - £118,000 2020/21 - £58,000 2021/22 - £40,000 Through a proactive approach to lease extensions (with premiums) and increases in rental income the council will seek to maximise the performance of the industrial and investment portfolio, including selling off poor performing industrial sites and focusing investment on high performing, high rental sites and properties. Net income £2.776m - excludes income for the Housing Revenue Account and Inverness Common Good Fund.
The Highland council agrred to slash £258,000 from the budget for Early Years organisations for 2019/20 The current budget for Early Years' Grants is £458k per annum. This is primarily an area-based budget where partners are able to apply for funding for one-off grants.
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