CASH-strapped Herefordshire Council will pay a six-figure salary to the senior manager who has to find about £3 million in savings each year.

The council's new director of resources role - now advertised in the national press - offers overall charge of the authority's finances.

A successful applicant can expect to earn up to £100,000 a year and implement a savings programme that - driven by central Government - must shave some £3 million off spending over the next four years at least.

The council is also hunting a head of adult and community services on the same salary. This post - with responsiblities ranging from social care and economic development to libraries and heritage - is another new addition to the corporate management team.

Council leader Councillor Roger Phillips has defended the salaries as the "going rate for people of calibre" and said they were in line with local Government averages.

But unions say the "bloated" salaries are an affront to members facing four years of pay and service cuts.

UNISON secretary Eddie Clark said they knew the two posts were coming, but not the salaries that went with them.

Such salaries were no comfort to staff who had their pay slashed by job evaluation or care workers seeing their service "cut to the bone", said Mr Clark.

Social workers struggling with emergency-only caseloads, a massive housing waiting list, the backlog of planning applications and delays in benefits were just some of the issues that needed the money more, he said.

Eighteen applicants are interested in the resources role so far. Another 13 have applied for the adult and community services job.

The new posts increase the size of Herefordshire Council's top management team from five to six - including chief executive Neil Pringle and directors for children's services, corporate and customer services and environment.

Salaries for the current team are due for review and could rise to match the two new posts.

Government guidelines meant the council had to create a children's services directorate - including education - late last year.

That move effectively split the council's social care operation. Adult care has now been incorporated into the new adult and community services directorate.

The resources remit also takes in elements of existing directorates like procurement and property. Coun Phillips said that resource management would be better served by a separate directorate.

Leaders of the council's political groups had been briefed about the new posts and agreed with the principle behind them, he said.