Suffolk: Andrea Hill replacement still likely to earn more than Prime Minister

THE county is still looking to pay its next chief more than the prime minister’s salary, the Evening Star can reveal today.

Councillors are considering paying the next chief up to �160,000 a year – �17,500 more than Mr Cameron earns.

That is the recommendation that will be considered by the county’s staff appointments committee next week, a meeting that will come six weeks after it delayed making a decision.

The search for a new chief executive to replace Andrea Hill will be triggered by the meeting on September 7 which will draw up details of the job and – crucially – decide the salary range for the appointment.

When the committee met at the end of July, which resulted in Lucy Robinson being appointed interim chief executive, members did not decide whether to limit the salary to that of the Prime Minister, �142,500 a year, or whether it should be higher – up to �160,000 a year.

At that time there was discussion on whether there should be a performance-related element to the salary, but that proposal has now been dropped.

Council leader Mark Bee said the administration had been talking to opposition parties about the proposal over the last month, and felt there was a consensus that a salary of up to �160,000 would be acceptable.

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He said: “This is up to �160,000. That is the very highest figure we would consider – and it is considerably less than what has been paid in the past.

“In fact there are only two other counties where there is a comparable salary, Northamptonshire and Somerset. All other county councils pay considerably more, including some of our neighbours.”

The government has said that no council officials should be paid more than the prime minister’s �142,500 salary – but Mr Bee said he had had discussions in Whitehall and did not think there would be any objection to a �160,000 figure.

And he emphasised it was possible that the figure would be lower than that.

Mr Bee said that once the salary had been decided and the job specification drawn up and advertised, he hoped interviews for the post would be held by early October.

The council hoped to make an appointment who could take up the role before the end of the year – but realistically accepted that the new chief might not be able to take up the role until February if the appointee has to work out a period of notice

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