Thursday, July 7, 2022
NewsScottish NewsCash-strapped council advertises two roles with combined salary of almost £220,000

Cash-strapped council advertises two roles with combined salary of almost £220,000

SCOTS are in uproar after a cash-strapped council advertised two new senior roles with a combined salary of over £218,000. 

The Highland Council last week listed positions for a deputy chief executive with a salary of £123,612 and executive chief officer for £94,732. 

The role of deputy chief executive falls just £15,144 short of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s reported £138,765 salary. 

The Highland Council Headquarters
The Highland Council Offices in Inverness. (C) Google Maps 

It also peaks a cabinet secretary’s average salary of £99,259 by £24,353. 

In 2019 it was revealed that the Scots council had to find a way to save almost £40m over three years.

The job listings come just weeks after Highland Council Councillor Margaret Davidson met with Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to appeal for a reverse in budget reductions. 

But Scots have slammed the “scandalous” salaries, drawing attention to their supposed lack of funding. 

One Highland Council listing reads: “Executive Chief Officer – Communities & Place, salary £94,732, Inverness.

“We are seeking an outstanding leader with significant senior management experience, preferably gained in the public sector.

“Experience of leading and managing major programmes and projects within a large organisation is required. 

“You will be innovative and forward thinking and you will need to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of Highland communities and the challenges of our stunningly diverse geography. Importantly you will be a team player and an excellent colleague.

A second listing reads: “Depute Chief Executive, Inverness, £123,612. 

“We are seeking an outstanding leader with proven experience of delivering organisational vision and strategy. 

“Working as part of the Executive Leadership Team you will be dynamic and ambitious for positive change and you will be committed to partnership working and inclusivity.

“If you relish challenges and working at a very fast pace, while connecting with people at every opportunity across a vast and beautiful area in the north of Scotland, then this is the perfect role for you.”

Hundreds of fuming Scots have commented about the proposed salaries.

Sybil Munro said: “Two jobs totaling nearly £220,000 being advertised today but they’ve not got any money! I wonder why?” 

The  Highland Council job listing
The Highland Council listing for Depute Chief Executive.

David Thomson said: “That’s disgraceful, no wonder our council tax will be increasing.”

Chris Smith said: “That salary is scandalous, sorry but it is.

“That’s nearly a quarter of a million pounds in salary potential in two Facebook posts that I’ve seen in the last five minutes. 

“No wonder council tax increases are around the corner, ridiculous.”

Cathy Rothwell said: “Omg, doctors and nurses that save lives don’t earn that.

“Who made that salary?”

Murray Coghill said: “These extortionate salaries should be performance related with serious targets to be achieved otherwise a basic of £50,000 paid which is generous for failure.

And Janet McDonald added: “Do we need another admin? Surely money could be better spent elsewhere in the area – roads for example.” 

It was revealed last year that interim education boss Paul Senior was due to take over the deputy chief executive role on a contract equating to £244,000 a year. 

However, having been met with outrage over the £20,000 a month proposition, councillors blocked the move.

Highland Council approved a substantive “programme for change” – entitled A Sustainable Highland – in February 2019, aiming to find savings of almost £37.5m over the space of three years.

The budget measures included continuing to freeze non-essential vacancies, controlling the use of agency staff and trying to avoid use of consultants.

The council spent more than £3m on agency staff in 2018.

Speaking today a spokeswoman said: “The salaries advertised for the two senior roles of Depute Chief Executive and Executive Chief Officer for Communities & Place are in line with the competitive salaries paid for senior roles in all other local authorities and similar sized public organisations.

“Both posts have significant statutory and financial responsibilities and it is vital we attract experienced, high calibre candidates for these important roles in Highland.”

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