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Lewes District Council to take on three new bosses at cost of £250,000
A council is set to hire three new ‘senior directors’, costing the taxpayer more than a quarter of a million pounds a year.
Lewes District Council is on the lookout for more high-level staff, despite facing sweeping cuts in funding from central Government.
More than £20,000 of taxpayers’ cash has already been spent placing job adverts in national newspapers including The Times and the Guardian.
According to the ads, successful candidates will have “a horizon-scanning habit and a fondness for big ideas”.
Opponents have questioned whether hiring three new senior staff on top wages was money well spent.
But council bosses said the appointments were necessary to drive a “complete transformation” of the authority’s structure.
Councillor James Page, leader of Lewes District Council, said: “We are trying to focus the organisation on customer services.
“Part of the newteam’s responsibilities will be to go out looking for different sources of funding.
“Overall, this is going to save money and improve services.”
A Pontefract-based headhunting firm called Solace Enterprises has been hired by the council to manage the recruitment, creating a special website called Change Lewes.
A council spokeswoman refused to reveal how much had been paid to the company due to “commercial sensitivity”, but council leader James Page admitted the process had been “expensive”.
He said: “Recruitment’s never cheap. The wages aren’t low either, but the reason for the money is because it has been benchmarked against what’s out there.
“If you want to attract the right quality of person you need to pay a commensurate rate.”
The three new roles are director of business strategy and development, director of service delivery and director of corporate services, with each job attracting a salary of up to £90,000.
It is the next phase of the council’s “modernisation” programme, called Nexus, which was launched in 2011 to achieve the council’s vision of ‘One District, One Council’.
The three new directors will take over from two long-serving senior members of staff who are planning to retire, one at Christmas 2013 and one in spring 2015.
Council papers revealed there is likely to be an overlap of responsibilities costing taxpayers £370,000 over the next two years.
Chris Bowers, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Lewes District Council, said he had been “concerned” about the need to hire the new directors.
He said: “I don’t want to get into cheap politicking, but we were concerned that having three directors as opposed to two sends a message that we are too top-heavy.
“However we can see a need for it in the short term.”
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