Joan Martin set to become CEO of restructured Louth County Council

County Manager Joan Martin speaking at the Positive aging week launch

County Manager Joan Martin speaking at the Positive aging week launch

Ms Joan Martin has been recommended for appointment as the new chief executive of Louth county council by the Public Appointments Service which is the recruitment provider for the civil service.

The position will have to be ratified by the council.

Ms Martin has been acting manager, replacing Philomena Poole who left after a few months in the job.

Ms Martin has headed many sections of the council.

She brings wide experience and a vast local knowledge to the new role, created by the reformation of local government.

After the June local elections, the town councils operating in the county were abolished and replaced by municipal bodies that come under the umbrella of the new county council which has extra seats.

The reform also brought sweeping changes to council personel.

Many senior officers have retired, and coupled with the amalgamation of departments, this has created a considerable challenge.

Another main challenge facing the new executive will be collecting revenue that is owed.

One councillor has already said that Louth County Council should consider asking the Government to involve the Revenue Commissioners in the collection of money due to the council.

The suggestion by Cllr Paul Bell was made as concern was expressed at the July meeting of the council over the amount of money owed and the low debt collection rates.

He said the present system obviously didn’t work.

He was not sure the council recovered money and with the costs involved at the end of the day it was a failure.

But Joan Martin said the problem revolved round two categories, those who can’t pay and those who won’t pay.

She said the council will make an agreement with anybody who makes a reasonable offer.

The council had tried to streamline debt collection over the three local authorities over the last 18 months. With the amalgamation of the three authorities at the start of June, debt collection was centralised in the financial section, with the exception of housing.

She is hoping the situation will improve with the new centralised system, as well as the economy improving, and people being in a better position to pay.

Cllr Peter Savage didn’t see why councillors can’t be consulted where problems regarding payment arose. They were consulted when it came to the courts, he added.

He said that in relation to rates, voluntary organisations had to collect funds to provide amenities and were then faced with bills of €15,000 to €20,000, and this, he said, was totally unfair.

The council has been criticised in the past for abolishing its rates collectors, the meeting heard.

Cllr Jim Tenanty said the county council should have come up with some better way for business people to pay their rates.


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