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Suffolk’s new chief exec moves on tiny pay rise

Deborah Cadman

Deborah Cadman

Deborah Cadman, Suffolk County Council’s new chief executive, will be paid £155,000 a year, a very modest rise on her current salary at the East of England Development Agency.

She will probably count herself fortunate to have made even a small increase as her job as chief executive of the agency disappears in March next year as it is closed down as part of the Government’s cuts.

Her pay including a bonus at the EEDA (annual report) for last finical year was £151,000 plus other benefits worth £3,000 a year. There will be no bonus nor automatic annual rises in the Suffolk job.

It is an appointment which sends a signal that SCC which avoided the costs of head hunters is determined to be very careful with salaries from now on. It will even have a national importance as a sign that the executive salaries arms race is over in local government.

She was chosen from a shortlist of four candidates by an appointments board headed by Mark Bee, the council leader, with two of his Conservative colleagues and the Lib Dem and Labour leaders, Kathy Pollard and Sandy Martin.

So it was surprising to read in the press releasethat:

Deborah will also be responsible for leading the redesign of the way the council works, protecting frontline services and keeping council tax down – all priorities for the Conservative administration at Endeavour House.

Why did they make this party political point when the opposition leaders would surely share these objectives? Deleting the word “Conservative” would have made the appointment appear fully consensual. That is, unless the appointment board was divided.

Ms Cadman’s salary is £63,592 less than that of the former chief executive Andrea Hill and will substantial reduce the differential between highest and lowest paid employees.

The announcement of Ms Cadman’s appointment lists her challenges as:

  • Reducing the cost of senior management at Suffolk County Council
  • Working in partnership with other councils, businesses, the third sector and local community groups
  • Reducing the number and cost of public buildings in Suffolk
  • Dealing with increasing demand for council services
  • Delivering Suffolk’s ambitious broadband programme
  • Continuing the council’s openness, transparency and listening agenda whilst finding local, practical, solutions to community issues.

Before joining EEDA she was chief executive of St Edmondsbury Borough Council for six years. He start date at Suffolk has yet to be agreed but there will no doubt be an arrangement which will allow her to become involved at the county council very quickly.

Update: I am pleased to learn, from Lib Dem Caroline Page, that the decision of the appointments board was unanimous.

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