Hill appointed £220,000 county chief

COUNTY councillors have decided to pay the top salary band of £220,000 to recruit Suffolk's new chief executive, which is £66,000 more than the original advertisement for a job which is unlikely to exist after 2010.

Graham Dines

COUNTY councillors have decided to pay the top salary band of £220,000 to recruit Suffolk's new chief executive, which is £66,000 more than the original advertisement for a job which is unlikely to exist after 2010.

Andrea Hill, the former head of Colchester borough council, is currently chief executive of Bedfordshire county council, which is being abolished as part of the local government reorganisation that also will see the demise of Suffolk.

However, the Labour opposition in Suffolk dubbed “this appointment on this salary” as “totally unjustifiable.”

Mrs Hill, who is 44, will take over from Mike More, who has been appointed to take charge of the London borough of Westminster City on a salary of around £200,000.

She will be one of the highest paid council chiefs in England, but if the Government has its way, the county council will disappear within two years to be replaced with up to three all-purpose unitary authorities.

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As revealed in the EADT last month, the county council was persuaded by its recruitment agency to increase the originally advertised pay package on offer for Suffolk on the scale of £154,000-£176,000.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke accepted the advice that the salary was not “sufficiently competitive” to attract the top officers of local authorities to go for the job.

Opposition Labour leader Julian Swainson, who was a member of the interview panel, opposed the hike in salary, saying that with the future of the council in doubt, Suffolk had its financial priorities all wrong.

He said Labour strongly against raising the salary to its upper limit. “I can well understand the anger felt by people who are struggling to make ends meet when they hear that the county council is prepared to pay this kind of money for an executive senior officer.”

“We have opposed this appointment on this salary and we shall continue to oppose this appointment - it is totally unjustifiable.”

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