MP IAN Lucas is demanding to know why cash-strapped Wrexham council is advertising for a high-powered transport officer on a salary of £80,000.

The Wrexham MP says a constituent has pointed out that the authority is seeking to recruit a temporary programme manager in the transportation department.

The job description calls for the successful candidate to “deliver an efficiency programme for all Wrexham Council transportation services by transforming culture, processes, systems and policies”.

The position is on a fixed term contract with a six-monthly review and has an “indicative” salary of £80,000 “subject to evaluation”.

An angry Mr Lucas said: “I understand this job is being advertised as part of a reorganisation within the local authority in order to save money.

“But I can’t understand why this job is on offer at a time when there are bleats from the local authority about them having no money.

“There is a great deal of capacity in the local authority already. I would hope existing senior managers are sufficiently capable to carry out work on this project themselves.”

Mr Lucas has written to the man who will be new officer’s boss, the council’s chief transportation and asset management officer Martin Wright, asking for an explanation of what the job specifically entails and why it is necessary to recruit an additional member of staff in the present economic environment.

Lee Robinson, the council’s strategic and performance director, said: “Wrexham Council is continuing to take a proactive approach to the current financial pressures and proposed cuts facing the public sector.

“In January, 2010 the executive board of the council commissioned a review of fleet management and maintenance activities.

“This review was extended to cover all transport activities and identified potential savings of almost £1m.

“This post is a temporary, performance-related post and the postholder will be expected to achieve those savings.”

Cllr David Bithell, the council’s lead member for environment and transport, said: “It’s a bit rich for an ex-Government junior minister to be making comments on Wrexham Council’s affairs when it was his previous government that got us into this mess in the first place.

“Wrexham Council is reviewing all transport activities as part of our service review and transformation process.”