The decision to pay the new chief executive of Suffolk County Council £220,000 has come under criticism.
Andrea Hill takes over from Mike More at Suffolk County Council
Andrea Hill, currently chief executive of Bedfordshire County Council, takes over from Mike More in April.
Julian Swainson, leader of the opposition Labour group, said the salary was "excessive" at a time when jobs were being cut to save money.
But council leader Jeremy Pembroke said the wage was needed to get the best candidate for the post.
Mr Pembroke told the BBC: "We are a £1bn business. That is big business.
"In order to command the best you have to pay the best."
Mr Swainson said: "Being a chief executive is a difficult job and we do want the best, but I don't think that means paying such an over-the-top salary."
The appointment of the new chief executive will be formally confirmed at the county council meeting on 27 March.
Ms Hill has more than 20 years' experience and has previously worked in senior posts at Colchester Borough Council and Cambridge City Council.
She led major regeneration programmes across a range of authorities, including negotiating a £1.5bn PFI programme to build a new army garrison in Colchester.