PCC to employ private secretary at cost of up to £36,000
QUESTIONS have been raised over police boss Martin Surl seeking to employ a private secretary at a cost of up to £36,000.
But the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said the role will be "better value for money" than a deputy.
Other PCCs have controversially employed former colleagues as their deputies at a cost to tax payers of up to £50,000.
Mr Surl, whose own salary is £65,000, pledged not to follow suit when he was elected. So far six members of staff have transferred over to his office from the former police authority and two temporary people have been contracted.
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He is now seeking someone to be his private secretary and help influence relationships with stakeholders, manage his diary, represent him at meetings and identify influences that will impact on the PCC's office.
An advertisement on Gloucestershire Constabulary's website said the full-time role was one of 'management not administrative level' and will pay from £34,005 to £36,030.
A source from within the constabulary raised concerns the pay grade was considerably higher than other similar roles within the organisation.
The chief constable's PA is paid about £29,000, the chief executive's gets about £24,000 and the average minimum secretary's salary is £22,376.
They said if Mr Surl appoints a private secretary, existing employees could ask for a pay rise off the back of it, resulting in an extra £113,000 of taxpayers' money needing to be spent.
But Mr Surl has countered the criticism, saying the role is more similar to a staff officer which the chief constable has in addition to her PA.
He also said the rate of pay was determined independently of him.
Mr Surl said: "I made it clear from the moment I was elected that unlike many other PCCs I would not be appointing a deputy who would have attracted a salary in the region of £45,000 per annum.
"A private secretary will not replicate that post but will be expected to make an important contribution to the running my office and in that respect will give much better value for money."
The closing date is March 15.