Attempt to scupper £220k chief exec deal

A BID to block the appointment of Suffolk's new £220,000-a-year chief executive is set to be made at a key meeting being held later this month.As revealed in The Evening Star last week, Tory chiefs on Suffolk County Council have controversially offered Andrea Hill up to £70,000 more than current chief executive Mike More to take the top job.

Neil Puffett

A BID to block the appointment of Suffolk's new £220,000-a-year chief executive is set to be made at a key meeting being held later this month.

As revealed in The Evening Star last week, Tory chiefs on Suffolk County Council have controversially offered Andrea Hill up to £70,000 more than current chief executive Mike More to take the top job.

However opponents of the move say they will attempt to scupper the massive wage increase.


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Kevan Lim, deputy leader of the Labour Group on the council, said he would be in favour of appointing Mrs Hill on the current pay grading for the job, but will vote against employing her on a salary of up to £220,000.

He said: “We will certainly be opposing any recommendation for a base salary of £220,000.

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“There is already a salary structure in place and I am not aware the job has changed and it is the same now as it will be at the beginning of April.

“In these circumstances the appropriate salary is the one already agreed for the post.

“If she (Mrs Hill) is the best candidate I am quite happy for her to come on the existing chief executive's salary.

“I have got a lot of county council employees living in my division.

“How can I possibly say to them we are going to give them a two or three per cent rise while paying up to £220,000 for a chief executive? It makes no sense and I can't justify it to them.”

The vital vote will take place at a full meeting of the council on March 27.

Due to a pending by-election in the Stowmarket North and Stowupland division, a possible total of 74 councillors can take part in the vote. Of these, 43 are Tories, 20 are Labour, eight are Liberal Democrat and three are independent.

In a bid to gauge opinion prior to the crucial vote The Evening Star has sent copies of the paper to each of the current 74 county councillors.

Suffolk County Council leader Jeremy Pembroke has defended the decision to offer Mrs Hill up to £220,000.

He said: “When you are looking for the best people you have to be able to pay the price.

“When we started looking for a new chief executive people from outside the county council said we had to go for the best person - whatever the cost.”

Should council chiefs pay up to £220,000 for a new boss? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

In an internal email Andrea Hill, 43, told councillors in Bedfordshire of her looming departure.

She said: "I would love to implement a new single unitary, but if I am honest, I do not have the heart to dismantle the organisation that I have helped to build over the last few years.

"I have decided, therefore, that it is better for me to move on.

"I had planned to tell you this face to face at tomorrow's briefing, but unfortunately the news has got out in Suffolk, and this has obviously forced me to bring forward my plans to today.

"Deciding to leave, given the change and uncertainty facing Bedfordshire, was an incredibly hard decision to make.

"I do not know whether our judicial review will be successful in overturning last week's decision, but I do know that the new unitaries have to appoint their chief executives by national competition, so my own position has always been at risk.

"My time at Bedfordshire has been one of the best experiences of my career.

"I have worked with fantastic, inspirational people here, councillors and staff alike.

"What is certain is that I will leave the council very proud of the turnaround we have achieved, not least because of your incredibly

strong political leadership."

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