Court threat to chief's appointment

AN IPSWICH man has vowed to prompt a court hearing on the controversial decision to appoint a £220,000 chief executive for Suffolk, it emerged today.Suffolk County Council has come in for criticism for paying new chief executive Andrea Hill £70,000 more than her predecessor Mike More.

AN IPSWICH man has vowed to prompt a court hearing on the controversial decision to appoint a £220,000 chief executive for Suffolk, it emerged today.

Suffolk County Council has come in for criticism for paying new chief executive Andrea Hill £70,000 more than her predecessor Mike More.

The appointment process has also come under scrutiny from the Audit Commission which carried out a probe into Mrs Hill's selection, flagging up a number of mistakes.

Despite having the power to take the matter to court the district auditor, Robert Davies, opted not to do so claiming it was “not in the public interest”.

However that decision is now set to be challenged by a Suffolk resident, a situation that could end up with the matter going before a court.

Peter Turtill said: “I wish to question the appointment of Andrea Hill and the method used to get this appointment through without objection from the elected representatives of the people of Suffolk.

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“I am a Suffolk voter and I would like this matter explained to me, especially the reasons for not taking the matter further. It is my intention to take this matter through the courts.”

Legislation states that a single registered voter in Suffolk could challenge the decision of the district auditor not to take further action on such an issue and can even prompt a court ruling on the matter.

Local electors who disagree with the auditor's decision not to refer the matter to court can lodge an objection within six weeks of the report being issued which requires the auditor to state in writing the reasons for the decision.

They can also appeal the decision to the court, a move that affords the court the same ruling powers as if the auditor had raised the issue themselves.

In the district auditor's report on Mrs Hill's appointment, published last month, Robert Davies said he felt it was, under the circumstances, not in the public interest, to pursue the matter.

He stated in his conclusion that he was mindful of “adopting a balanced and proportionate approach”, as well as considering “the potential cost to the taxpayer”.

However he said this stance could change should new information come to light or a challenge be made by a local elector.

Suffolk County Council declined to comment on the matter.

A spokeswoman said: “Any objection would be a matter for the Audit Commission to consider."

Are you in favour of the matter going to court? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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