UP to £90,000 could be spent on employing a temporary member of staff at City of York Council for six months.

A senior member of the council’s legal and governance team has been on long term absence and must be replaced urgently, according to a report prepared for a meeting next week.

Documents say a substitute must now be appointed to the role or the council will be left “at risk”.

But Cllr Mark Warters criticised the plans, saying £90,000 is a lot of taxpayers’ money to spend on a temporary post.

The report says: “With the impending elections and complexities across legal and governance, the absence of the current post holder leaves the authority at risk.

“Timing is very important and the risk to the authority is increasing. The alternative is not to recruit and risk the impact on key areas being unable to deliver services to the required standard.”

The current assistant director of legal and governance’s salary is up to £77,901 and the council hopes to recruit someone on the same rate, which is expected to cost £50,000.

But officers say as the situation is urgent, it may be necessary to employ a replacement on a rate of £700 per day - costing about £90,000 for six months.

The local authority will also have to pay North Yorkshire County Council an undisclosed amount of money to help it with the recruitment process, as the report says City of York Council’s human resources department does not have the capacity to fill the role quickly enough.

Senior councillors on the staffing matters and urgency committee have been asked to agree the proposals at a meeting on Monday and if they go ahead, the post will be advertised from February 6.

A spokesman for the council said: “Staffing matter and urgency committee are asked to consider the request to recruit an interim assistant director of legal and governance in line with the constitution. The cost of interim cover is in line with the assistant director terms and conditions and may, due to the interim nature of the post and the need to recruit the right person, attract an additional amount.”

The report adds that the money for the role will come from the department’s existing staffing budget and a consultation has already taken place with the council’s chief executive, management team and leaders.