Salary at top of the scale

SUFFOLK'S top chief is earning more than £30,000 above the national average for county chief executives, it emerged today.

SUFFOLK'S top chief is earning more than £30,000 above the national average for county chief executives, it emerged today.

New figures show that at £218,000, Andrea Hill is among the highest paid chief executives in the land, ironically on the same wage former as chief executive Mike More who is now at Westminster council.

The statistics, compiled by Tribal Resourcing, show that the average wage for a county council chief executive in 2008 is £186,250 a whopping rise of 22.5 per cent on the previous year's figure of £152,000.

Over the same period, average pay for borough and district council chief executives actually DROPPED by 1.8pc from £99,678 to £97,833.

Despite Mrs Hill's bumper salary coming at a time of pay restraint for other council employees amid cutbacks and concerns about the economy, Tory leader of the council, Jeremy Pembroke, has repeatedly backed the decision to appoint her.

He has claimed that the council is paying the “going rate” for a chief executive and that Mrs Hill's salary is in line with that of other chiefs around the region.

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The news has attracted criticism from the administration's political opponents.

Kevan Lim, deputy leader of the country's Labour group, said: “This just reinforces what we already knew when we were challenging the process, that the average wage is well below what the county council offered.

“That average wage includes the top authorities across the country and goes to show how crazy it is to pay the money they are paying.”

An Ipswich man is currently challenging the appointment of Mrs Hill after taking the issue up with the district auditor.

Peter Turtill has said he will formally object to Suffolk County Council's accounts over the issue, a move that could prompt a court ruling on Mrs Hill's appointment.

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