Haverhill’s locum clerk is appointed

Outgoing town clerk Will Austin and his predecessor Gordon Mussett
Outgoing town clerk Will Austin and his predecessor Gordon Mussett

Bob Whittome has been appointed as Haverhill’s locum town clerk.

Mr Whittome, who has worked as Epping town clerk for 12 years and also in a locum capacity, will work in the role and that of responsible financial officer, until a permanent appointment for outgoing town clerk Will Austin is made.

He started in the role on Tuesday (March 4).

Mr Austin, who took over from Gordon Mussett in 2011, will leave his post next Friday (March 14).

Interviews for the permanent position are being held next week, so the town will likely have a new clerk within the next two to three months.

“We have to make provision for the fact we may not recruit from this pool and also for the notice period of the successful applicant, so we can’t be absolutely certain how long Bob will be here,” said Mr Austin.

“He comes to us with good recommendations from his previous employers and a strong background as town clerk.”

Mr Austin is leaving the post to return home to Devon, where he will become town clerk of Barnstaple.

He is heading back south to be able to spend more time with his two young children.

“Being a father is the only job that has been more important that being town clerk for Haverhill Town Council and I’m deeply saddened to find myself in a position where I feel I have to leave a town that I have come to feel very much is my professional, personal and spiritual home,” he said.

“I feel a very strong affinity to Haverhill.”

Mr Austin was at his final full town council meeting on February 18, and there tributes were paid to him by Haverhill Police Inspector Peter Ferrie and town leisure manager Nick Keeble.

Mr Austin’s tenure has seen the town have to cope with numerous budget cuts and become a part of pilot group ONE Haverhill, oppose the closure of Place Court care home, support pedestrianisation, hold the inaugural Summer Bash and instigate talks to run the former magistrates’ court as a youth hub.

For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, March 6) Echo.