I am delighted that Lucy Robinson has accepted the role of interim Chief Executive at Suffolk County Council. She got the job on merit and the decision of the staff appointments committee was unanimous. There were five of us in total – 3 Conservatives, including the leader, Mark Bee, myself as Lib Dem opposition leader, and the Labour group leader. The council needed a period of stability after the turbulence of the last few months and Lucy has provided that since taking on the Acting Chief Executive role in May.
I’ve been surprised, though, that people still want to talk about Andrea Hill. It’s not a topic I raise with them – many are still irate about the salary, the cost of personal photo-shoots, coaching, expensive hotels, etc. This unfortunate saga seems to have cast a long shadow over Suffolk and has badly affected the reputation of a once excellent County Council, at both local and national level. We almost need a truth and reconciliation commission, so that people can get things off their chest.
In any case, I wish Lucy Robinson well. The council still faces severe financial challenges and she has a tough time ahead of her – but she has already demonstrated a collegiate approach to the role of Chief Executive, and that will stand her in good stead, both with staff and the public.