AN angry resident has complained Solihull Council is “still empire-building and creating more non-jobs”, despite the severe economic downturn.
Michael Ince hit the roof when he saw an advertisement in a local newspaper for a “new and exciting post” of Equality and Diversity Officer within an existing council team, paying between £30,546 and £38,575 a year.
“This is a disgrace and this new job should be withdrawn immediately,” he told the Solihull Times. “I would challenge the council to justify the need for an equalities team anyway but more particularly why it is expanding the workforce at this difficult time.
“We are in the face of a recession, with the private sector reeling from job losses and cost-cutting across the board.
“Yet the council considers it appropriate to spend other people’s extremely hard-earned money on a complete non-job.”
Mr Ince, a 53-year-old insurance risk manager who lives at Hobs Moat, added that with another inflation-busting rise in council tax this year, Solihull Council should make cuts in staffing rather than increasing the wage bill.
“About 20 per cent of our council tax is already used to prop up local government pensions. If we didn’t have to pay this we would be able to put something into our rapidly diminishing, unprotected private pensions.”
Councillor Ken Meeson, leader of the council, said: “During last year’s inspection of the council by the Audit Commission inspectors, we were told we had to strengthen our equalities team. This is why another job has been created.
“It is linked to the changing nature of Solihull, with a growing number of people belonging to ethnic minorities coming here.”
John Lamb, spokesman for Solihull Chamber of Commerce, said: “If there are genuine vacancies a council has to fill there can be no complaint about recruiting new staff.
“But there’s an awfully big financial divide now between the well-funded public sector and the struggling private sector.
“It has become a political issue and I can understand why some people get angry about council spending.”