Pay row chief goes on charm offensive

NEW Suffolk chief executive Andrea Hill was today launching a two-day charm offensive by speaking to the media from across the region.Mrs Hill started earning her salary of up to £220,000 a year two weeks ago - at £600 a day she has so far earned £6,600 from council taxpayers in the county.

NEW Suffolk chief executive Andrea Hill was today launching a two-day charm offensive by speaking to the media from across the region.

Mrs Hill started earning her salary of up to £220,000 a year two weeks ago - at £600 a day she has so far earned £6,600 from council taxpayers in the county.

She was due to start meeting journalists from across the region today - and will be seeing The Evening Star tomorrow for a 15-minute interview.

However our questions could take longer than 15 minutes to answer so we are today publishing them in advance so she can prepare her answers to the issues that are really concerning our readers.

Mrs Hill has taken over at a time when the future of the county council is under serious question.

Most political analysts expect it to be abolished as part of Whitehall's local government review of Suffolk and Norfolk.

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The government wants to create unitary councils in the region. The county council wants to take over all services in the county - which could have councillors from Haverhill or Brandon deciding whether a homeowner in Chantry can build a conservatory on their house.

However most councils in the county want to see an east/west/Ipswich split with a “greater Ipswich” council being formed and the rural county being split through the middle.

These are the ten questions our readers want answered by Mrs Hill:

1) How much exactly is your salary? Your predecessor was always happy to say exactly how much he earned.

2) At a time of public sector pay restraint, how easy is it to keep the lid on county council salaries when staff can see you are earning 50 per cent more than your predecessor?

3) Are you preparing to run a campaign for a unitary county similar to that you ran in Bedfordshire?

4) Will you be spending £500,000 of council taxpayers' money - as you did in Bedfordshire - on a unitary campaign?

5) The administration at Suffolk County Council has a vision of a single council running all services from Felixstowe to Brandon and from Lowestoft to Haverhill. Do you share that vision?

6) If you are personally committed to the unitary vision, how easy would it be for you to implement an alternate vision if there was a shift in power at the county council?

7) Do you live in Suffolk? If not do you propose to move to the county?

8) Suffolk is a well-run county, it has achieved high scores in government ratings. You were known in Bedfordshire as a "brilliant change manager" according to one senior councillor. Can you resist changing things that don't need to be changed in Suffolk?

9) Councils across Suffolk - Waveney, Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal, and Forest Heath - want to see smaller unitary councils take over services from the county. Does the county have any future beyond the next 12 months?

10) What will you do if and when the county council is abolished? How much redundancy pay would you expect to collect?

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