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Bonkers Blog July 2011

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7 July (Part 1) - Fat cat’s salary leads to lost seats

The following comments on the BBC’s website caught my eye because the situation is so similar to what is going on in Bexley - except that Bexley council refuses to recognise it has a problem.

“How could we tell people that councils had to tighten their belts when we had a chief executive on £218,000 refusing to take a pay cut,” said one Suffolk MP.
“During the local elections in May every door I knocked on wanted to talk about Andrea Hill and executive salaries. There was real anger and fury on the doorsteps.”
Another Suffolk MP has told us that he believes Andrea Hill cost the Conservative party three local elections in Suffolk.

One difference is that Andrea Hill was Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council, not an individual borough like Bexley. Despite that larger responsibility, Bexley council pays its Chief Executive pretty much the same salary. Another difference is that in Suffolk the councillors (and MPs) retained some sense of decency and signs of integrity in hard economic times, they got rid of the overpaid CEO because she refused to take a pay cut as recommended by Eric Pickles, the Communities Minister. In Bexley the council leader Teresa O’Neill is absolutely against lower salaries for the highest earners and made several comments indicating her contempt for residents’ opinions.

The “anger and fury” is unlikely to be confined to Suffolk, I suspect if Teresa O’Neill could be bothered to ask her neighbours in Church Road what they think, it might open her eyes to how people in her ward might vote next time around.


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