Comment: Salary is absurd

THREE senior Tories have hit the spotlight thisweek by approving a £220,000 salary for their new chief executive.What possessed Jeremy Pembroke, Jane Storey, and Graham Newman into making such a generous offer is being questioned by many.

THREE senior Tories have hit the spotlight thisweek by approving a £220,000 salary for their new chief executive.

What possessed Jeremy Pembroke, Jane Storey, and Graham Newman into making such a generous offer is being questioned by many.

They were elected into office less than three years ago promising to be careful with the public funds, and yet when Mrs Hill's application for the top job landed on their desks at Endeavour House they could not resist making her one of the highest paid chiefs in the country.

That is despite the fact that Suffolk is not one of the largest authorities in the country - and it is not one of the most difficult to run. The county council has four stars from the government and is considered generally well-run - it doesn't need a trouble-shooter to sort it out.


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Mrs Hill might be one of the most able council chief executives in the country, but there was no need to pay her a salary so much more than that offered by other authorities.

Her job at Bedfordshire is coming to an end - the authority is being abolished so it was not as if she had to be tempted away from a lucrative job.

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All of which combines to make the decision to pay her such an eye-watering sum totally inexplicable.

How on earth can they not have realised £220,000 - £30,000 more than is earned by the Prime Minister - is a totally absurd sum to pay someone at a medium sized authority?

How can they not have realised that as the council is cutting daycare provision and home help services such a huge increase would cause a political storm?

Why did they not listen to the wise words of Liberal Democrat leader Kathy Pollard, who pointed out that with the county facing likely abolition in its present form within the next 18 months, there was no need to appoint a new full-time chief executive anyway.

There are already talented senior directors at Endeavour House and one of them could have taken on the role of acting chief executive.

The whole saga of the appointment of Andrea Hill as chief executive of Suffolk has been thoroughly botched - and has left council taxpayers with a serious hangover.

If there was any thought for the concerns of the people who elected them, senior members of the administration should be on the phone today to Mrs Hill at her Bedfordshire office with a new offer.

The council should offer her Mike More's salary of £150,000 - and tell her that if she wants to earn more than this she should have to show them that she is worth it...in this county!

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