What appointment cost could have bought

SUFFOLK'S new chief executive will be getting £70,000 more than her predecessor - a sum which could make a significant impact on services.And nearly £50,000 was spent on the employment agency which brought Andrea Hill to the county council on a salary package which will put her near the top of the premier league of council chiefs.

SUFFOLK'S new chief executive will be getting £70,000 more than her predecessor - a sum which could make a significant impact on services.

And nearly £50,000 was spent on the employment agency which brought Andrea Hill to the county council on a salary package which will put her near the top of the premier league of council chiefs.

Mr More is currently earning about £150,000 a year while Mrs Hill will be paid up to £220,000 a year.

Figures obtained by the Taxpayers' alliance show that last year (2006/07), Ms Hill received £162,920 which included an “essential car user allowance” of £1,750.

Meanwhile, current chief executive at Suffolk County Council, Mike More, received up to £140,000, an eight per cent increase on the previous year.

Ms Hill's new pay deal is a 35 per cent, or £57,000, increase on her stated salary last year.

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The new figure would place her third place in the list of top council earners for the entire UK.

Kent chief executive Peter Gilroy earns £230,000 while Wandsworth chief Gerald Jones took home £227,424 last year.

A new list which takes into account recent pay increases is currently being compiled.

Meanwhile it has emerged that the average maximum salary of a chief executive in April 2006, excluding additional payments, was £166,088.

Should a review of local government in Suffolk decide Suffolk County Council is no longer needed, Mrs Hill could be in line for a redundancy pay out within just a year.

The Boundary Committee has been tasked by central government with looking at other possibilities for revamping council structures across Suffolk.

As a result Suffolk County Council and Suffolk's seven district authorities all face the possibility of abolition with Whitehall chiefs keen to see elections as early as June 2008.

That could create a situation where Mrs Hill is in post for as little as 12 months before the authority is disbanded.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “The chief executive is subject to the same terms and conditions as any other officer.

“The local government minister John Healey said he wasn't expecting any redundancies as a result of this review.”

The council said the cost of recruiting a new chief executive came out of the council's human resources budget, meaning that no additional cost was incurred by taxpayers - but it revealed £49,000 was spent on headhunters Odgers, Ray and Berndtson, who found Mrs Hill.

As revealed in the Star last month the new chief executive at Suffolk County Council could be eligible for more than £9,000 to help them relocate and redecorate.

That bill will be footed by Suffolk tax payers.

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