New chief starts at county

CONTROVERSIAL new Suffolk chief executive Andrea Hill starts work today - but will have to prove herself to be Superwoman if she is going to silence all the critics of her appointment.

CONTROVERSIAL new Suffolk chief executive Andrea Hill starts work today - but will have to prove herself to be Superwoman if she is going to silence all the critics of her appointment.

The £220,000 salary she will be receiving has attracted fury from across the political spectrum - most notably from Conservatives in Ipswich who cannot understand why their county colleagues loosened the purse strings so much.

Our argument with Mrs Hill's appointment is not based on who she is or what she has done in her previous jobs.

It is that this is the wrong time to be making such an appointment - and especially it is the wrong time to be making such an expensive appointment.

There are plenty of senior officials at Suffolk County Council who could have done the chief executives job while the future of the authority itself is determined by the government.

One of her first jobs will be to improve morale at an authority where staff are no longer feeling valued.

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Ministers are to announce in the middle of the year whether the county council's preferred option of a single unitary authority for Suffolk has been short-listed in its re-organisation proposals.

However if it is not on the shortlist, Mrs Hill will effectively be working out her notice within weeks of joining the authority.

For senior councillors to have put their authority in this position is ridiculous, and council taxpayers from across Suffolk will be hoping that they were given a tough time by the District Auditor at their meeting last week.

It is not as if Mrs Hill has a particularly hard job to do on a day-to-day basis. The county is well-run and does not need to be shaken up.

Her arrival marks the low point in this administration's stewardship of the county - and is sure to be noted by ministers who have to decide on the future shape of democracy in Suffolk.

SATURDAY'S draw at Wolves was the result neither team really wanted, but at least keeps Ipswich in the running for a play-off place with just two matches to go.

Wins against Preston and Hull could still secure the team a place in the final shake-up for the last Premier League place, even though Ipswich would have to rely on Crystal Palace or Watford dropping points.

When Marcus Evans invested money in the club at the end of last year, there were hopes that the well-placed team would challenge for an automatic promotion place.

Those hopes have not materialised, but at least it is heading into the final furlong of the season with something to play for.

WALLY and Margaret Shaw were married before the outbreak of the second world war - but are still as much in love today as they were when they tied the knot.

Now living in the Margaret Girling sheltered accommodation in Felixstowe, their story is an inspiration for couples tying the knot today.

Everyone will be delighted to congratulate them on their 70th wedding anniversary - as they hope to enjoy more years together.

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