Row erupts over hunt for new spin chief

COUNTY chiefs have come in for criticism after it emerged they are pressing ahead with the recruitment of a new £80,000 spin doctor.

COUNTY chiefs have come in for criticism after it emerged they are pressing ahead with the recruitment of a new £80,000 spin doctor.

Despite uncertainty over the future of Suffolk County Council due to an ongoing Boundary Committee review, the authority is set to interview for the post on Thursday.

It is understood a selection panel will quiz three external candidates with a decision possibly being taken the same day.

The high-ranking post came up for grabs following the sudden departure of the authority's communications chief Francis Thomas at the start of June.

A decision by the authority to advertise for a replacement caused controversy at a time when the council is attempting to cut costs.

Kathy Pollard, leader of Suffolk's Lib Dem group, said her party has refused to take part in the selection procedure in protest at the appointment.

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She said: “We don't feel there should be a permanent appointment to this position especially at the salary level it is at the moment of around £80,000.

“With the county council having to make a lot of savings at the moment they could do without recruiting for the post.

“It seems quite clear they are determined to press ahead with the one council for Suffolk option.

“They are spending a lot of money promoting it and it is clear what they are doing is appointing someone who can further their case for them.”

The shock departure of Francis Thomas in June came just weeks after new chief executive Andrea Hill started work at the authority on a bumper £220,000 pay packet.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “Councillors will be interviewing for the post of head of communications and marketing and if a suitable candidate is identified they will consider making an appointment either there and then or soon after this meeting.”

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