COUNCIL chiefs in York have come under fire for filling two more top jobs with people on temporary contracts on combined pay of £1,450 a day.

The two interim assistant director posts in adult social care at City of York Council follow the appointment of Sarah Tanburn, on £700 a day for a year to work four days a week as interim director of city and environmental services (see June 18 story).

Opposition Conservative councillors say adult social care in the city is in "meltdown" following the departure of Kathy Clark and Graham Terry, who have resigned as assistant directors in adult social care.

Council chief executive Kersten England made the new appointments under delegated powers after the pair left the organisation for "unrelated and personal reasons".

The council has said the £1,450 combined payment is for a maximum of 203 days over the next year. The council will not pay tax, National Insurance, pensions, sick pay or any payment for days they are absent.

Conservative leader Chris Steward, said: "I'm extremely concerned and unhappy that more and more interims on ridiculous money are being taken on by the chief executive under delegated powers rather than the decision taken by elected councillors."

Tory councillor Paul Doughty, who is vice chairman of the council’s health scrutiny committee, said: “Adult health and social care appears to be in chaos. Despite repeated questions from myself and Conservative group leader Chris Steward asking for clarification of the problems within this department, the chief executive of this Labour administration refuses to divulge any information, and we believe the residents of York are entitled to transparency when it comes to such an important council function."

The council's latest financial report, to be discussed by the cabinet on Tuesday, shows the health & wellbeing department overspent by £1.391 million, although the council overall underspent its budget by £314,000.

Mrs England, said: “It is a matter of fact, communicated to all group leaders and lead spokespersons for adult social care, that two assistant directors have resigned for unrelated and personal reasons. A cross-party member briefing session took place on Monday about the service."

Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of public health, said: "Adult Social Care departments across the country are facing unparalleled challenges as a result of an ageing population and reducing national budgets, combined with a statutory duty to provide care.

"In making appointments to the two interim assistant director posts our absolute priority has been to ensure that we recruited highly experienced individuals who would be able to help the council meet the challenges ahead. Value for money has, as always, been a key driver in the recruitment process."

Labour's Cllr Linsay Cunningham-Cross, said: "I am saddened that the Conservatives have chosen to play politics with such important services. There is nothing political about this situation. I do hope that they will fully engage in the cross-party work in this area."