South Yorkshire Fire officials to save £300,000

image captionMr Smitherman is to retire from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire's Fire Authority claims the service will save £300,000 when the current chief officer retires next April and its principal officer team is restructured.

Chief Mark Smitherman is to retire six and a half years after taking the top job in the South Yorkshire service.

During his time in charge firefighters were locked in a two-year battle with Mr Smitherman over shift patterns.

The nature of the further savings has not been released by officials.

The authority said a "restructuring of the principal officer team is to take place" following his retirement.

In a statement the authority said: "His retirement will pave the way for a restructure of the service's principal officer team, reducing the number of directors from five to four.

"The reduction in director-level posts will facilitate a total annual saving to the authority of well over £300,000, as it will pave the way for further savings elsewhere in the management structure.

"Full details of the restructure are still being finalised and will be announced in due course."

'Challenging period'

Mr Smitherman joined South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue in April 2004, going on to become the county's chief fire officer in December 2004.

Mr Smitherman said: "I have enjoyed my career immensely, and I am especially proud of the achievements made by everyone at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue in the last seven years. "

Councillor Jim Andrews, chairman of the county's fire authority, said: "It has been a challenging period for fire and rescue services up and down the country.

"We have made massive strides in improving the safety of local people during Mark's time with us."

No one from the Fire Brigades Union was available to comment.

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