Oxford

Oxfordshire council defends communications job salary

Keith Mitchell
Image caption Mr Mitchell said the new post would replace the jobs of four people

A council has defended offering a salary of nearly £100,000 for a new head of strategy and communications.

Oxfordshire County Council says the £97,180 executive role advertised on its website will replace the jobs of four people.

Liberal Democrat and Green county councillors have criticised the offer, claiming the role is unnecessary.

But Conservative council leader Keith Mitchell said the move could save the council about £200,000 a year.

Oxfordshire County Council is to cut 1,000 job before 2015 as it aims to save £119m over the next four years.

Lib Dem councillor Zoe Patrick said she was "amazed" at the salary.

She said: "I don't think we need this particular post any more because some of the work that is involved is not now happening. I think we can manage without it in these austere times.

"It's not just the post, it's what it brings with it - extra pension costs and everything else."

'Just dreadful'

Green councillor Chip Sherwood said: "I think it's absolutely disgusting. The county are closing libraries, old people's homes and youth clubs.

"How can they justify hiring someone for £97,000 - it's just dreadful.

"No job is worth that."

Mr Mitchell said: "We have deleted four posts that are currently costing a huge amount more than this salary and replacing the four posts with a single one.

"When we are going to lose a thousand jobs over the next four years, we have to worry about how that is communicated.

"The most senior position that has gone is a retirement, it's not a redundancy, and the other three are members of staff who have not been with us for a long time so there will not be a significant redundancy package there.

"My best guess is that we have saved in the region of about £200,000 a year on this restructure."

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