Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 14:24 UK

Chief executive hiring 'lawful'

Andrea Hill
Andrea Hill's salary caused controversy when it was announced

The hiring of a 220,000-a-year chief executive at Suffolk County Council was not unlawful, according to a report by the Audit Commission.

Andrea Hill's appointment in March caused controversy when it emerged the salary for the post had risen by 25%.

The commission found while there were "deficiencies" in the appointment, it was not "fundamentally flawed".

The report said Ms Hill's pay rise was "not unreasonable" despite concerns over the way the council decided on it.

Auditor Robert Davies, who wrote the report, said: "I have identified areas for improvement."

'Appointment defended'

The report criticised the fact that sufficient information was not shared with council members as to why the raise was necessary.

The report found that "the council cannot demonstrate that value for money was given sufficient consideration".

However, the report went on to say that the deficiencies in the information provided to councillors during the process "were not so significant as to materially affect the decision reached".

Earlier this year, campaign group the Taxpayers' Alliance said the council's decision to pay Ms Hill so much was "totally unjustifiable".

Suffolk Conservative leader Jeremy Pembroke defended the appointment, saying: "The people who live in Suffolk need and deserve the very best."

Row over 220,000 council salary
11 Mar 08 |  England
New county council chief chosen
10 Mar 08 |  England

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