Second job for Suffolk chief

SUFFOLK'S �220,000 chief executive has found herself a second job!

SUFFOLK'S �220,000 chief executive has found herself a second job!

Andrea Hill, whose appointment last year caused a massive controversy, is spending half a day a month helping to improve one of Britain's worst-perfoming councils.

Mrs Hill, who has been in her post at Endeavour House for 11 months, was chosen to sit on Thurrock unitary authority's improvement board following the Audit Commission's finding that the Essex council was failing to improve “adequately and quickly enough.”

Mrs Hill has spent half a day a month since January in Thurrock with the blessing of the county's political leadership, who have encouraged her to take part in the Government sponsored initiative to improve the standards of failing authorities.

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However, opposition leader Julian Swainson - who said he supported the long established practice of council officers advising other authorities - questioned the wisdom of Mrs Hill being absent from her post at a difficult time for all councils.

“The perception of the public will be that, as council taxpayers, they are paying her large salary when she's not at her desk,” said Mr Swainson.

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Thurrock has been without a chief executive since the former head of service Angie Ridgwell “left her post” in November. An interim chief executive is due to be replaced today by another temporary post holder as the search continues for a person to take charge of the two-star authority.

A spokesman for the county council said: “As a four-star authority, we are committed to sharing best practice in local government.

“Mrs Hill was elected chair of the executive advisory group in the East of England by other chief executives and as only one of nine such chairs in the country, she has a direct channel into central government on efficiency and improvement.

“This provides the county council with the benefits of being in touch with key government ministers.”

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke said: “Suffolk has an excellent track record of good financial management and of delivering high quality services.

“Much of the work she undertakes to support Thurrock is carried out in her own time, and not at a detriment to Suffolk. Andrea always exceeds her contracted hours (37 per week) with the county council, working around 70 hours a week.”

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