WASHINGTON: Budget hawks in Congress and taxpayer advocates are criticizing the decision by the Department of Homeland Security's public affairs office to seek its first entertainment liaison.
The critics have characterized the move as wasteful spending. Similar positions, however, do exist in other federal agencies, most notably the Department of Defense.
The director-level position entails full-time consultation with Hollywood screenwriters and directors in order to ensure the accurate portrayal of DHS employees and its mission. The job, posted March 16 on the DHS website, pays between $89,239 and $136,466.
"It's probably an unnecessary position in that the existing PR department ought to be able to handle [Hollywood's] requests," said Pete Sepp, director of communications for the National Taxpayers Union.
"There's this growing tendency to spend money to make government look good," Rep. Brad Sherman (R-CA) told the Los Angeles Daily News. "It's hard for me to think this is the best possible use of taxpayers' dollars."
DHS officials did not return calls for comment, but spokesman Dennis Murphy told the AP, "There can be a tremendous impact on the public with the ability to communicate to people what we're doing. They're going to do their movie. We just don't want it to be silly."
Recruiting company YRCI is assisting the DHS with the search. Bill Roscoe, senior HR specialist at YRCI, said about 80 r?sum?s had been received in the first week, and there was no specific target date to hire a candidate.