Hey, big spenders... we're watching you

TODAY The Evening Star launches Suffolk County Council Watch - as we promise to put an ongoing spotlight on events at county hall.It's an important day at Endeavour House - councillors are meeting to vote on the appointment of new chief executive Andrea Hill and her £220,000 salary package, one which dwarfs that of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

TODAY The Evening Star launches Suffolk County Council Watch - as we promise to put an ongoing spotlight on events at county hall.

It's an important day at Endeavour House - councillors are meeting to vote on the appointment of new chief executive Andrea Hill and her £220,000 salary package, one which dwarfs that of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

If just a few Tory councillors vote against the eye-watering package, council leader Jeremy Pembroke and his colleagues will have to think again.

The Evening Star broke news of Mrs Hill's appointment and salary earlier this month - and our revelations have met with raised eyebrows at both local and national levels especially as the Tory Party prides itself on being a prudent purseholder of public finances - i.e YOUR cash.

So we've been looking at the ruling Tory group's rationale for the appointment of Mrs Hill - and have fired in a series of questions to the people who control Suffolk's billion-pound budget. Partial answers to our questions are published on page four tonight - but we're not satisfied with them and will continue to investigate.

For example, during the interview which led to the chief executive appointment no-one asked whether or not Mrs Hill, who lives in the Cambridge area, will come, with her family, to live a Suffolk life from now on.

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Today, we're revealing more unusual events emanating from Endeavour House.

More than £6,000 has been splashed out on “team-building” exercises for staff working in the corridors of power.

This includes a dozen officers taking chocolate making lessons at £150 a pop.

Others enjoyed drumming and singing lessons while £197 per head was spent on a group experiencing “hill-top activities”.

Suffolk County County Council Watch - see pages 4 and 5