Finance chief steps aside in face of cuts

Roger Ching

Roger Ching

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ONE of Portsmouth City Council’s highest-ranking and longest-serving officers is to stand down to help save cash.

Roger Ching, the council’s strategic director and Section 151 officer, will leave by August 31, having taken early retirement.

He said: ‘I am 60, and have reached the magic age where I can retire.

‘I have been at the council 41 years, and because of the financial situation, the time’s right for me to step aside.’

The council has to save £22m in the next three years, having already been forced by government cuts to slash £15m from this year’s budget.

Mr Ching feels his salary, which is between £105,000 and £109,999 a year, will be a good start for the council’s saving.

He will not be replaced and his resignation will mean the council’s heads of service for finance, cultural revenues and benefits, audit and performance, and housing management, will report to one of the five remaining strategic directors.

And his Section 151 role – with responsibility for all the council’s financial affairs – will be taken over by the council’s head of finance Chris Ward. Mr Ching, who oversaw the Spinnaker Tower project, said: ‘I have enjoyed all aspects of my job a great deal, and I will have memories which will be with me every time I walk around the city.’

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