Birmingham City Council’s new Strategic Director of Development will receive a salary of up to £153,483, a decision which is likely to place the successful candidate in the firing line of a Conservative attack on over-paid public servants.
In what may prove to be an embarrassing move for the Tory-led council, an advertising campaign to replace former regeneration boss Clive Dutton offers a wage packet in excess of the £150,000 limit that Conservative Party leader David Cameron has identified as the top end of reasonable local government pay.
It means that, in the event of a Conservative government, whoever is appointed to spearhead regeneration in Birmingham will be named in a list of all public sector workers earning more than £150,000, which the Tories have promised to publish online.
Earlier this year Mr Cameron told his party’s spring conference that a Conservative government would introduce a “new age of austerity” in the public sector and place greater value on front-line workers as opposed to “fat cats”.
He said: “Let’s see which officials have been getting rich at the taxpayer’s expense – and whether they’re worth the money.”
Any public sector executive earning more than the prime minister’s salary of £194,250, which includes Birmingham City Council chief executive Stephen Hughes, would have to justify their pay in person to the Chancellor under a Conservative government.
The advertising campaign for Birmingham’s new strategic director of development calls for someone with “inspirational leadership qualities” who is skilled at building relationships and supporting the city’s strategic partnerships.
The right person, according to a council micro-website set up to handle applications, will display “iron resolve” in a job that is “not for the faint-hearted”.
It is clear from the job description that the post is far wider than the regeneration role conducted by Mr Dutton, who was only acting strategic director and was not given the full title before leaving the council for a new job in London in September.
The successful candidate will be expected to take a leading role in tackling unemployment, developing the city’s international role and will also lead Birmingham’s agenda on climate change, with responsibility to help reduce carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2026.
A recruitment pack sent to applicants contains letters from council leader Mike Whitby, cabinet regeneration member Neville Summerfield, cabinet human resources member Alan Rudge and chief executive Stephen Hughes.
Mr Hughes says the winning candidate will possess an “iron will to get things done”, but must show sensitivity when dealing with councillors and officials.
Coun Whitby informs candidates that “there is no place like Birmingham”, adding that many of the council’s achievements are recognised as best practice.
He adds: “However, there is still more to be done and you will be pivotal in helping Birmingham retain its reputation as a world class city. Not only will you take responsibility for a varied portfolio of issues, including urban regeneration, worklessness, sustainability and economic development, you will also help the city council to realise its objectives without compromising on efficiency.
“This is not a post for the faint-hearted. If appointed you will find us demanding but supportive and impatiently adventurous in our pursuit of improvement.
“We are also enthusiasts for achieving excellence and developing effective collaborative partnerships to realise our full potential.”
Coun Rudge said: “An important component of this role is dynamic leadership. You should have the ability to motivate and inspire staff, while at the same time take a strategic approach to the role. You will need to be a creative thinker who has the ability to build and develop good relationships with the relevant stakeholders.”