Council boss told to stay on leave

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THE beleaguered chief executive of Suffolk County Council has been asked to remain away from work as ‘anonymous whistle blowing complaints’ are investigated.

Andrea Hill has not returned to work at Endeavour House, in Ipswich, since taking a holiday and was due back last week.

Cllr Jane Storey, acting leader of the authority, said: “The chief executive has been asked by the council to take additional leave so that preliminary investigations can be made into anonymous whistle blowing complaints received by the council.

“Andrea has agreed to remain away from work so that the review can be carried out independently.”

No further details have been released regarding the matter.

Lucy Robinson, director for economy, skills and environment, is currently providing cover duty, which is being reviewed on a weekly basis.

Since her appointment three years ago, Mrs Hill has been at the centre of controversy for her £218,000 a year salary and her key role in overseeing millions of pounds in budget cuts.

The authority is expected to make up to £125 million in savings in the next four years and has already signed off £42.5 million in cuts this financial year.

Mrs Hill is seen as one of the architects of the council’s New Strategic Direction, which aims to transfer the delivery of services to businesses, charities, voluntary organisations and local councils.

However, following the departure of former leader Jeremy Pembroke and the forthcoming appointment of Mark Bee as his successor, a question mark hangs over the strategy.

Already Cllr Bee, who is due to become leader of the council on May 26, has offered a reprieve to threatened school crossing patrols in areas where there is ‘high risk’.

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