Fury at £95,000-a-year council job

By Jonathan BarnesA COUNTY council's move to appoint a new £95,000-a-year director has been criticised as "a slap in the face" for council taxpayers.

By Jonathan Barnes

A COUNTY council's move to appoint a new £95,000-a-year director has been criticised as "a slap in the face" for council taxpayers.

Suffolk County Council has advertised for the new post of director of public protection, who will take responsibility for fire services, trading standards and emergency planning.

It is offering a salary of £95,000-a-year for the post, with the successful applicant effectively replacing Suffolk Chief Fire Officer Malcolm Alcock, who is retiring in November.

But an anti-council tax campaigner criticised the new post and demanded to know what taxpayers would be getting for their money.

Reg Hartles, chairman of People Against Council Tax Suffolk, said he was "flabbergasted" at the advertisement.

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"When jobs are advertised in the paper like that, it shows contempt for all the people who pay council tax," he added. "They seem to be spending our money in whatever sizes they like - it is a slap in the face.

"I understand the post may be taking over the role of chief fire officer, but I wonder what pension he is retiring on?

"The director's salary is an enormous amount of money and we need to know what we are getting for it. I cannot see how they can justify it."

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the new director was expected to be a direct replacement for Mr Alcock, who has had responsibility for public protection for the past 18 months.

He added the new director's remit was expected to include the role of chief fire officer - although the spokesman admitted there was a "possibility" a new fire chief could also be appointed.

"The advert is for Malcolm's job, although this is the first time it has been externally advertised as director for public protection," he said. "Malcolm has been doing that role since it was created about 18 months ago.

"This is not new money and it is the salary you would expect to pay for a director of public protection - it is not out of step with other director positions.

"We are making sure we are giving best value for the services we have under our roof, particularly emergency planning, which is a growing part of our business for obvious reasons."

Interviews for the post will take place next month and the new director is expected to start work by the end of the year.

jonathan.barnes@eadt.co.uk

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