CASH-STRAPPED city council chiefs have advertised anonymously to fill a newly-created top post expected to carry a salary of over £100,000 a year.
They want to appoint a commercial and procurement director as part of the authority’s leadership team, paid the equivalent of one of the highest pay grades – with a remit to find new ways to save money.
And initial interviews for the post have already taken place.
But the job advert hid the fact that it was the council trying to recruit. The notice, placed by executive search company FWB Park Brown, referred to “our client, a large organisation and significant employer in Edinburgh”.
The council, which faces reduced funding at a time when demand for its services is increasing, has already agreed a new garden waste collection charge, higher parking costs for diesel vehicles and is talking about a tourist tax and a workplace parking levy.
The new job – described by a council insider as “an income maximisation officer” – will be a fixed term contract for two to three years.
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The job advert said the post would involve “identifying and delivering new commercial opportunities, as well as identifying and delivering savings from existing and future suppliers”.
Councillor Jason Rust, chair of the council’s Conservative group, said: “If a new extra senior management type position is being created there requires to be an entirely transparent process and obvious justification for the role.
“At a time when there are worries about pressure on frontline services, the creation of another highly paid position has the potential to raise serious concerns amongst staff, unions and Council Tax payers.
“Money needs to be refocused on frontline services as the recent review apparently sought, so there are undoubtedly questions to ask about any proposed new appointment given the promised flattened management structure.”
The council said creation of the new role did not require committee approval. It said the salary would be negotiated, but the post would be equivalent to head of service – some of whom are paid over £100,000.
It also said a standard recruitment advert would have been less likely to attract the right candidates for the role, given it was keen to attract people with private sector experience.
A spokeswoman said: “The council has made strong progress over the last five years, saving around £240 million by working more efficiently and prioritising services, but there is more we can do to build on this success and strengthen the generation of additional funding.
“We want to engage someone for a fixed period of time, to ensure that we fully review our current income generation activities and develop new opportunities to bring more funding into the council and the city.”