At a special council meeting last week Hastings Borough Councillors confirmed the appointment of Jane Hartnell as the council’s new Managing Director with immediate effect.
Ms Hartnell joined Hastings Borough Council (HBC) in 1997 as a committee administrator and worked in several roles before becoming Director for Corporate Resources five years ago.
A press release issued by HBC this week says Ms Hartnell has: “An impressive track record in developing leading major projects, managing organisational change, improving performance, championing customer service and partnership working.”
Newly appointed leader of the council, Councillor Kim Forward, says of the appointment: “This role is critical to providing strategic management and leadership for the council.
“Jane knows the council well and has a track record of delivering. She has great local knowledge and an understanding of how the council needs to move forward. Given recent events, strong leadership is going to be as important as ever to help us manage the impact of COVID-19.”
Ms Hartnell said: “I am honoured and proud to be appointed to the position of Managing Director for Hastings Council.
“It has been a privilege to work for the council with great colleagues, councillors and partners over the years. I am excited by the challenge of this new role and I look forward to continuing to serve the council and the people who live, work, do business and visit the town.
“My first challenge will be to steer the council and the town through the evolving impact of COVID-19. I want to assure everyone that we are doing all we can to plan for and manage the impact of this terrible virus.
“Council staff have already risen magnificently to this challenge, putting the needs of local people first, all the while worrying about their own families and friends. We are in close communication with other councils, our partners and the government.
“We have set up a response team to lead on this work and coordinate with local agencies. We will do everything we can to protect our most vital services and our most vulnerable people.
“Now is the time for calm heads and a cooperative spirit. We are all in this together and we will get through it.”
Ms Hartnell’s appointment as MD comes as part of HBC’s attempt to save money. She had been in competition for the new post with Simon Hubbard, who had been director for Operational Services.
The new managing director’s role merges the two previous positions and as a result Mr Hubbard will be made redundant and is expected to leave HBC next month.
An assistant director’s post and two other senior roles are also being abolished in a bid to save £260,000 in the coming financial year.