Labour’s search for an Assembly-funded gardening liaison officer a ‘turnip for the books’!
A Labour Assembly Member is advertising for a permanent position in her office, responsible – it would appear – for gardening matters.
Initially entitled Community Liaison Officer (Gardening), the post holder, working for Jenny Rathbone AM, would “investigate the demand for growing food including allotments” and “support the Assembly Member’s work promoting healthy eating through community gardening”. Further to criticism from Welsh Conservatives, the job title appears to have been modified on the Assembly website.
It is not thought any other Assembly Members hire staff specifically tasked with such duties.
The successful candidate must also be able to "support any interest in learning where food comes from".
Depending on the experience, the candidate could be paid £12.64 an hour for discharging these duties in the Cardiff Central constituency. Essential criteria for this Assembly-funded post include an “ability to communicate … information to people new to gardening”.
Whilst Welsh Conservatives passionately back community garden initiatives, and fully support allotments, concerns have been raised as to whether a permanent, Assembly-funded position dedicated to this work in just one constituency is necessary.
Suzy Davies AM said:
“Community gardening can play an important role in regenerating our communities – but a designated Assembly-funded post for one area of Cardiff may raise a few eyebrows from even the most green-fingered!
“Whilst I applaud Jenny Rathbone’s commitment to growing food, and supporting allotment holders, this particular job opportunity seems unprecedented in Assembly terms. I suppose you could say it's cutting-hedge!
“The root of the issue is that the public need to have confidence in how public money is spent. Thorny topics like the recruitment of an Assembly office gardener do little to provide the public with such confidence; and many will regard this unusual ad as a turnip for the books!”