Bust-up at Suffolk County Council HQ over comment on blog
PUBLISHED: 08:03 25 March 2011
THE opposition leader on Suffolk County Council has had a bust-up with the authority’s £218,000-a-year chief executive Andrea Hill after calling on her to “consider her position” on her blog,.
Liberal Democrat Kathy Pollard updated the blog earlier this month after it emerged that the council had spent thousands of pounds on management training courses for Mrs Hill and other senior figures.
Mrs Pollard and her deputy had a short meeting with Mrs Hill in the opposition leader’s office at Endeavour House at what was supposed to be a regular quarterly meeting last week.
Mrs Pollard said: “We had a very forthright discussion! She said she was not happy with my blog and I said I was reflecting the views of the people of Suffolk and that people were talking to me about this all the time.”
Suffolk County Council did not wish to comment on the story as it was a “political attack” on the chief executive.
During what was a relatively short meeting between Mrs Hill and Mrs Pollard, the politician had a blunt message for the chief: “I said I thought our relationship had irretrievably broken down.”
Mrs Pollard says on the blog: “Suffolk County Council’s chief executive, Andrea Hill, is rapidly becoming an object of hate on the streets of Suffolk.
“If I were her, I’d get out before I was pushed.
“However, the last thing we want is some gigantic severance package. The people of Suffolk are suffering enough from the New Sadistic Direction.”
There is a convention that politicians can attack each other, but should not attack council officers whose roles are to carry out the wishes of politicians – and are apolitical themselves.
The county’s communications department did not want to comment on what was seen as a “political” attack on the chief executive.
However, the Conservative administration said it was wrong for a politician to attack a council officer who was not in a position to answer back.
A statement issued on behalf of the cabinet at the county said: “We are all aware that cllr Pollard is engaging in political point-scoring in the run up to the local elections.
“To do so by criticising council officers – who, as she knows, are prevented by protocol from answering back – shows up their complete lack of actual policies to move Suffolk forward.”