THREE years ago, Tracey Logan became the highest-ranking female official at Scottish Borders Council when she was appointed the £95,000-a-year director of resources, in charge of finance, human resources, legal services, IT and corporate administration,
And on Thursday, the 45-year-old who lives in Peebles went one better when she was appointed chief executive of the Newtown-based local authority, the region’s largest employer, on an annual salary of £119,000.
Ms Logan joins an elite handful of women, including Sue Bruce (Edinburgh), Angela Leitch (East Lothian), Valerie Watts (Aberdeen City) and Elaine McPherson (Clackmannanshire), at the helm of Scottish councils.
The job, which became vacant following the shock summer resignation of David Hume, attracted 40 applicants with nine shortlisted for the post.
Since Mr Hume’s departure, Ms Logan, education director Glenn Rodger and social work director Andrew Lowe have taken turns at performing the role in an acting capacity.
TheSouthern understands Mr Lowe did not apply for the post, but that Mr Rodger was among the candidates interviewed by a panel of 10 councillors last week.
“I am naturally delighted to take up the role of chief executive,” said Ms Logan, adding she was “not at all daunted” by the financial challenges facing her council and the public sector in general.
In her previous job, Ms Logan, born in Middlesborough and brought up in Midlothian, was at the forefront of radical changes in the way the council – facing real term cuts in its financial settlement from Holyrood, coupled with a freeze on council tax – operates.
Hundreds have taken early retirement or redundancy packages as part of the business transformation programme which Ms Logan spearheaded. Job descriptions and departments have been rationalised, but she was keen to stress this week that her function was not just about saving money.
“I love the Borders, my daughter [nine-year-old Carragh] loves her new school at Kingsland and, professionally, I am totally committed to making this council the catalyst for positive change in the economic fortunes of the Borders, while providing excellent services to all our citizens,” she told us.
“Business transformation is designed to modernise the way we do business and deliver significant efficiency savings, but it is not a one-off, rather an ongoing process which I will pursue with vigour by engaging with our staff.
“Although the council must make savings of £5.87million in the current year, we are doing it by finding ways of doing things better. That includes our Customer First programme, involving the integration of contact centre and library functions, which I know has been controversial.
“The important thing is that these services are being preserved while we meet government targets on a range of policies from carbon reduction to tackling poverty, and our staff deserve much praise for their positive approach to the changes.
“And changes will continue, particularly as we take major steps to making partnership working with other public agencies, including NHS Borders, a reality in the years ahead.”
Ms Logan considers her most significant achievement the brokering earlier this year of a temporary freeze on incremental pay rises over the next two years, in return for a commitment on no compulsory redundancies and the introduction of a minimum living wage of £7.15 per hour.
Married to Paul, Ms Logan began her career as a management trainee with Lothian Regional Council, moving to West Lothian Council in 1996 following local government reorganisation.
In 1988 she became human resources (HR) manager with the British Airports Authority at Edinburgh airport, later becoming BAA’s director of business support services.
Having completed a post graduate qualification in HR at Napier University, Ms Logan worked as head of HR with a joint venture company in East Anglia, returning to Scotland to take up a similar position with SBC in 2006.
Council leader David Parker told us: “As director of resources, Tracey Logan has already undertaken a number of important projects, protecting services and saving resources.
“I have no doubt she will rise to the challenge and provide the guidance we need to take this council forward into the future.”