James Hassett to be chief executive of Somerset West & Taunton Council


James Hassett will at a meeting on Monday November 19 be confirmed as the chief executive designate of Somerset West and Taunton Council. He is expected to resume for duties in January and will become the substantive CEO once the organisation replaces Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils on April 1.

Mr Hassett, a resident of Taunton Deane, is coming in with great experience having coached at the county town’s rugby club and served as the executive director (operations and place shaping) at Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council.

He will replace Penny James whowill be stepping down following the merger of the two existing councils. Mr. Hassett’s functions will include being the electoral registration officer, head of pad civil service, returning officer and a principal member of the central implementation team.

He will earn a basic salary of £115,000 a year as well as returning officer fees. He emerged the choice candidate after a recruitment exercise that gulped £35,000.

According to his profile on Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council, “With considerable experience in successfully negotiating high value (£80m+) commercial contracts, managing large and complex programmes (£500m+) and delivering a number of high-profile projects, James’s background in both public and private sectors is ideally suited to the role of executive director (operations and place shaping).

“A qualified project manager, James has also worked extensively with ISO9001 approaches and techniques. James’s role will assist in embedding a culture of performance and entrepreneurship across both local authorities.”


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