New row over council chief pay
SUFFOLK residents could be left to fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds on redundancy payments for salary-hike chief Andrea Hill.It has now emerged that if Suffolk County Council is abolished in the next couple of years through unitary status, with her at the head, it will have to pay her redundancy calculated on her entire career in local government - not just her short time at the head of Suffolk County Council.
SUFFOLK residents could be left to fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds on redundancy payments for salary-hike chief Andrea Hill.
It has now emerged that if Suffolk County Council is abolished in the next couple of years through unitary status, with her at the head, it will have to pay her redundancy calculated on her entire career in local government - not just her short time at the head of Suffolk County Council.
Sue Thomas, Labour spokeswoman for Human Resources, said: "Council Taxpayers across the County will be angry that they may be asked to pay not only a huge salary but also an inflated redundancy package for work not even done in Suffolk.
“The Conservative administration just keeps piling waste upon waste, cutting services and then leaving people across Suffolk to pick up the bill."
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Liberal Democrat deputy leader Andrew Cann said he still could not understand the haste with which Mrs Hill had been appointed.
He said: “Why on earth has she been appointed now when the shape of the council is still so much up in the air?”
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“It would have made much more sense for the council to have appointed a temporary chief executive until it was clear what was going to happen. We will know whether there is any future at all by the end of June.
“If the county is abolished in its present form, any redundancy money will eventually have to be paid by the successor councils - so Suffolk residents will be left with the bill whatever happens.”
Mrs Hill is due to start her new job at Endeavour House on April 21 - much earlier than had been expected.
She had been expected to work her notice at Bedfordshire County Council, as Mike More has at Suffolk, but a release clause has been agreed meaning she will now start much earlier.
And bringing her start-date forward has set alarm bells ringing among members of the opposition groups who fear the council could be tempted into launching an expensive campaign for its own preferred option of a unitary council for the whole of Suffolk.
Labour deputy leader Kevan Lim said his group had been assured no money would be spent on any campaign for unitary status by the county unless it is included on the government's shortlist.
He said: “If there is a change now and the county does start to campaign and to spend money trying to influence the decision, then there will be a major political row about this.”
A spokeswoman for the county council said the redundancy issue for Mrs Hill should not arise.
She said: "The local government minister, John Healey said in a press conference when he announced the current review that there would be no redundancies.
“In the event of any redundancy the chief executive would be entitled to the same senior officer terms and conditions as anyone else. This would be the case if the post holder was Mike More or Andrea Hill.
“The alternative - offering a fixed term contract, would doubtless work out more expensive and redundancy rights would still accrue in the second year.”