Payout fears over £220k council chief

THE new chief executive of Suffolk County Council will start work with the authority on April 21 with the debate over her £220,000 salary still raging.

THE new chief executive of Suffolk County Council will start work with the authority on April 21 with the debate over her £220,000 salary still raging.

Controversy has raged since the increased salary given to Andrea Hill - £70,000 more than the previous post-holder - was made public.

And when Mrs Hill arrives at her desk in Endeavour House later this month, she will discover that the disquiet over the salary rise will not have gone away.

Labour, the main opposition party in Suffolk, believes council taxpayers may be stung for a huge redundancy payment if the county council is abolished in less than two years' time. The Government is looking at the introduction of unitary authorities in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Sue Thomas, who speaks for Labour on customer service and human resources issues, said any redundancy package that may be paid out to Mrs Hill after the dissolution of the county council would be based on not only time spent at Suffolk, but the total time spent in previous jobs in local government - including the top posts in Colchester and Bedfordshire.

“Council taxpayers across the county will be angry that they may be asked to pay not only a huge salary but also an inflated redundancy package for work not even done in Suffolk,” she said.

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The council's appointments committee agreed to a suggestion from its firm of headhunters that the level of salary was necessary to attract the right person for the job.

After appointing Mrs Hill, councillors voted to regrade the pay scale to a maximum £220,000, an increase of £70,000 above what the outgoing chief executive Mike More was paid.

A council spokesman said: “The local government minister, John Healey said in a press conference when he announced the current review of local government that there would be no redundancies.

“But in the event of any redundancy the chief executive would be entitled to the same senior officer terms and conditions as anyone else. This would be the case if the post-holder was Mike More or Andrea Hill.

“The alternative - offering a fixed term contract - would doubtless work out more expensive and redundancy rights would still accrue in the second year.”

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