Spin doctor to earn £81,000

FRESH criticism has today been aimed at county chiefs after a new spin doctor was appointed on a salary of £81,000 a year. The salary for Suffolk County Council's new head of communications was advertised to be in the £66,468 to £81,824 pay band - and Caryl Jackson will join at the very top end of that.

FRESH criticism has today been aimed at county chiefs after a new spin doctor was appointed on a salary of £81,000 a year.

The salary for Suffolk County Council's new head of communications was advertised to be in the £66,468 to £81,824 pay band - and Caryl Jackson will join at the very top end of that.

The news comes just months after the authority, which could be abolished in a local government shake-up in two years, faced severe criticism after new chief executive Andrea Hill was appointed on a salary of around £220,000.

Ms Jackson, former head of communications at Glasgow City Council, replaces former council communications chief Francis Thomas.

Kathy Pollard, leader of the Suffolk Liberal Democrats said she was “appalled” by the top end salary.

She said: “We have been against the appointment from the start and boycotted the process.

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“Here is the county council cutting services, putting up charges and paying staff what the public sees as vast sums of money.”

Leader of the council, Jeremy Pembroke, who was chairman of the appointment panel, said: “The pay scale is complicit with the previous occupant of the post and we have not altered it. It is not an increase - the band is exactly the same.”

He said that the authority faced major challenges in the next few years and that Ms Jackson would be well qualified to explain to residents how the council would continue to provide excellent services.

Cllr Julian Swainson, leader of the Labour Group, who was on the interviewing panel, said he was pleased the salary kept within the bracket the council had set at the start of the appointment process.

Ms Jackson has lived in Kingston, Jamaica during the last two years, doing voluntary work while studying for a PhD in communications and marketing.

She said she was delighted to be offered the job and added: “Because Suffolk's local government structures are likely to change significantly, there is a massive job of work to do to engage people in the consequent changes that will affect all our lives.”