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Big bucks for a spin doctor

PUBLISHED: 02:00 21 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:08 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK is looking for a new top spin doctor - and is offering up to £68,000 a year!

Head of spin at County Hall Rachel Stopard is heading home to Hertfordshire - and her bosses are advertising her job for between £55,000 and £68,000 a year.

SUFFOLK is looking for a new top spin doctor – and is offering up to £68,000 a year!

Head of spin at County Hall Rachel Stopard is heading home to Hertfordshire – and her bosses are advertising her job for between £55,000 and £68,000 a year.

The news of the salary on offer has provoked fury from opposition councillors – who say the money would be better spent on improving services like social care.

"Home care workers in this county are given only 12p a mile yet the council is looking to appoint someone to spin the administrations line and pay them up to £68,000 a year!

"I think the administration needs to look very hard at this again, we don't need to spend this much spinning stories," said Tory group leader Jeremy Pembroke.

The post has been advertised nationally in an advertisement filled with councilspeak: "As the professional leader of communications across the authority, and a member of the Corporate Services Directorate Management Team, you will be involved in: - local strategic partnership working - developing public access - working with other local authorities/health service/voluntary organisations - "Go Suffolk" change programme within Suffolk County Council."

The salary is several times that being offered to people in jobs in the frontline.

While the new spin doctor can expect to earn up to £68,000 a year, new staff required for the council's Cherryfields home for elderly people can expect to earn only a fraction of this figure.

The council is advertising for a new kitchen assistant paying £9,500 pro rata and for a new residential carer paying £10,500 pro rata.

Ms Stopard arrived at Suffolk County Council from Hertfordshire Police in September 2000. She had previously worked with Suffolk Chief Executive Lin Homer at Hertfordshire County Council.

While working in Suffolk she retained a home in Hertfordshire, and is now returning there to take up a role as a director of Hertfordshire County Council.

Suffolk County Council deputy leader Bryony Rudkin said the job was not "simply a chief spin doctor."

The salary being advertised was the rate for the job, she added. "We are looking for an assistant director, and this is the salary range set down for that.

"We will be getting value for money once the new appointment is made – as assistant director the job involves skills across a wide area, not just running the press office."

Ms Stopard is due to leave Suffolk later in the summer and was today still at work in a meeting and unable to comment personally on the issue.

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