Temporary county council director to earn �171,000

SUFFOLK’S interim head of children’s and young people’s services is to be paid �171,000 over the next year it has emerged.

Simon White took up the role last April following the departure of Rosalind Turner from the county and was paid fees of �167,441.

He will continue in the role for at least one more year, and during 2010/11 he will be paid �4,000 more. The figures were released as the county council published its accounts for the last 12 months.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke defended the payment, saying it would cost the council less than employing a full time director.

He said: “We went out to look at the cost of a permanent appointment and the going rate is �140,000 a year. Added on to that would be the cost of pension and national insurance payments which would be a further �47,000 so this represents a saving.

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“The interim director gets a fee. There is no holiday pay. There is no sickness pay. He only gets paid when he works and has to take care of his own pension and NI – it is a good deal for the council.”

Mr Pembroke said it was a legal requirement to have a director of children’s and young people’s services – but with the uncertainty surrounding local government it had been difficult to find anyone willing to commit to the role for the long term.

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“We were waiting for a decision on local government review, and now there is uncertainty about the whole level of public service provision.

“It is very good that Simon will be with us for another year – he is widely respected by his colleagues and the teaching community – and then we will be able to decide what happens next.”

The accounts show that the number of non-schools staff at the council who earn more than �50,000 a year went up from 217 to 244 – but the number earning more than �70,000 actually fell from 41 to 37.

In the county’s schools the number of people earning more than �50,000 – mostly headteachers and other senior teachers – went up from 289 to 364.

And it emerged that the total paid to chief executive Andrea Hill was more than had been quoted in the past – as well as her salary of �218,592 the county also paid her a pension contribution of �49,183.

Labour group leader Sandy Martin said the fee paid to Mr White showed that the county was still out of touch with ordinary voters.

He said: “ I don’t know why any directors need to earn more than �100,000 a year. It seems that for senior staff the administration is worried that it has to pay over the odds to prevent them walking away but when it comes to the ordinary staff it just imposes a pay freeze and warns them that their jobs are at risk.”

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