Row over Suffolk chief executive’s salary in national spotlight

TWO Suffolk County Councillors have taken their personal criticism of chief executive Andrea Hill to the national stage.

An opinion-based piece written by Liberal Democrat councillors, Kathy Pollard and Caroline Page, was given a full page in a national Sunday newspaper. The article reflected the duo's dismay at the recent revelations over money spent for a photoshoot for Mrs Hill and senior councillors and lifestyle coaching sessions for the chief executive and others.

The long-running saga over her �218,000-a-year has been thrown into the spotlight over recent weeks, and has even drawn the attention of the Prime Minister.

In the article, Mrs Pollard stated: 'All heads of local authorities have had unpleasant decisions to make during the past 25 years as successive national governments have cut their spending.

'Yet the average person would be hard pressed to name those chief executives. Not so in Suffolk. Mention Suffolk County Council to anybody and the subject of THAT WOMAN and her salary will arise.

'It's an issue that just won't go away.'

She went on to claim that Mrs Hill had become 'confused' with being responsible for a lot of public money 'with being worth a lot of public money'.

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Ms Page added: 'Truly this is power without responsibility. The chief executive is an appointee with powers limited only by those who oversee him or her.

'The appointee may have few or no links with the county they run. Ms Hill, for example, doesn't even live in Suffolk.'

In response, Jane Storey, deputy leader of the council, said that the column showed that the issue had been taken too far and become a 'personal vendetta'.

'I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinions,' she said. 'However, I think it is regrettable that it has been taken to this level.

'I seems like a personal vendetta against Andrea and it no longer seems to be about her salary.

'I think that it is a shame that it has reached this point and I can't help but think that if she was a man, we wouldn't be in this situation.'

Speaking about the article, Mrs Pollard added: 'I am concerned that the spotlight nationally is focusing on Andrea rather the wider issues at Suffolk County Council, in relation to the services.

'However, it does remain an issue and it isn't going away because it is something which is really resonating with Suffolk residents.

'It isn't just about her, it is about the whole issue of spending at Suffolk County Council and as opposition, it is our role to highlight any area of spending which we believe to be unwise.'

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