Councillors warned over media contacts
SUFFOLK’S chief executive has denied that she has attempted to silence opposition councillors.
Chief executive Andrea Hill asked the last meeting of the county’s standards’ committee to consider censuring councillors for “inappropriate use of the media.”
Her request came on the day we published her latest staff circular warning of job losses to come and discussing how the county should try to reduce for demand for its services.
Opposition leader Kathy Pollard felt that Mrs Hill’s request for the standards’ committee to take action was aimed at her.
She said: “You quoted me in that story, and the chief executive had the story open in front of her as she made the point about inappropriate use of the media.
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“I don’t know if she thought I had leaked the document, which I had not, but it was in circulation among thousands of county council staff.”
Mrs Pollard was surprised by the chief executive’s intervention at the meeting.
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However Mrs Hill said she had not been commenting on the issues surrounding the staff circulars – she had been talking about an incident several months ago when a councillor leaked sensitive financial information.
“You have to have appropriate standards of councillor behaviour and that was what I was reminding the committee – but my main talk was about the challenges facing the authority over the next few months.
“I wasn’t directing those comments at anyone in the room – certainly not at Kathy,” she said.
Labour group leader Sandy Martin said councillors needed to be aware of the needs of confidentiality: “If you leak sensitive financial information that is only known to a few people that is clearly wrong.
“But any document put on the council’s internal website can be seen by 27,000 people so that is in the public domain and it is ludicrous to say it should not then be picked up by the media,” he said.