I thought I should just clarify a few facts on the Chief Executive appointment to Suffolk County Council in early 2008. I did not support Andrea Hill’s appointment at any stage. I wanted to make this clear, as a number of people clearly believe that I did.
I was not involved in the shortlisting in February 2008 as I was away on holiday. Three candidates were shortlisted. There were five councillors on the appointment panel which made the final decision. The three Conservatives were Jeremy Pembroke, Graham Newman and Jane Storey. The other two were the then leader of the Labour group and myself. There were three votes in favour of Ms Hill, all Conservative and the three of them also voted for her £218,000 + salary.
At the County Council meeting which ratified her appointment I and my Lib Dem and Independent colleagues all voted against. We also voted to refer back her salary package to the appropriate committee. A record of the vote can be found here
There was a subsequent investigation into the appointment process by the District Auditor. In the report he says “it is arguable that the decision to increase the top of the salary range was potentially unlawful due to the Committee not having considered some relevant information”. He also criticised the council for not having produced a business case to justify the increase in the salary range. The District Auditor stopped short of surcharging the authority, however, as he clearly thought that council tax payers had been punished enough!!