The Conservatives’ political assistant at Northamptonshire County Council has been named as the new strategic advisor to the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Stuart F McCartney, 37, who has been an advisor to the ruling Tory administration for the past six years, will now move to Wootton Hall to work for the fledgling Commission run by Adam Simmonds.
Conservative Mr Simmonds became the county’s first ever police commissioner a fortnight ago after winning the election on November 15.
According to a draft document published by his office yesterday, the strategic advisor role will support the Assistant Commissioner Governance, Kathryn Buckle, “developing material and speeches for the Commissioner, researching and briefing on issues and supporting liaison with the Police and Crime Panel”.
Seventeen jobs have been proposed for the new Commission and Mr Simmonds has indicated that the £800,000 budget to run his office would be exceeded if the remit of the commission were to be broadened at a future date.
The Government has yet to say whether it will release additional central funding for the UK’s 41 PCCs, but if that is not forthcoming, the cost of the new commission is likely to come from the existing police budget.
The Chronicle & Echo understands that while Mr McCartney is a member of the Conservative Party - a requirement for his current job at County Hall - nobody else appointed to interim roles so far, including the Assistant Commissioner for Governance, Kathryn Buckle or the Assistant Commissioner for Engagement, Peter Heaton, are members of the party.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition at County Hall, Councillor Brendan Glynane, has reacted with “astonishment” to Mr Simmonds proposing to create 17 new jobs.
He said: “I am absolutely stunned at his actions. All throughout the campaign he refused to say what he would do if he was elected. Now we know why. He is creating 17 jobs on huge salaries for his Conservative campaign team, financed by the hard-pressed taxpayers of Northamptonshire.
“Many people said they were concerned about the politicisation of the police during the election. However, I don’t think anyone expected this – 17 jobs at high salaries, many of them going to Tory loyalists.
“The Conservatives are creating an entire party political office to run our Police force.”
He added: “Even more ludicrously, one of these political appointments will be a ‘value-for-money’ officer. You just couldn’t make it up. People will be outraged and rightly so. The total cost to the taxpayer could exceed £800k per year.
“To add insult to injury his first duty was to email existing staff and tell them there was no money and their jobs were at risk. The Conservative PCC appears to be using taxpayers money to pay for jobs for the boys and girls.
“This is political cronyism writ large.”