A controversial council chief oversaw payouts of more than £500,000 to gag departing staff last year. Andrea Hill, who is paid a £218,000 salary, presided over the handouts that ensured former employees would not become whistleblowers. Forty-one people were paid between £2,000 and £60,000, at an average of £12,714 each.
The monthly cost to taxpayers of such agreements has quadrupled since Mrs Hill, 46, joined Suffolk council in early 2008.
Suffolk’s gagging payouts totalled £521,277 last year. From January 2008 to September 2009, just over £10,000 a month was paid out. That has now risen to £43,000 a month.
Kathy Pollard, leader of the Liberal Democrats on the Tory-run council, said: 'There have been quite a few high-profile communications people who have left but that doesn’t account for all the staff. 'It's very hard to know what is going on but it is obviously something to do with the culture of the council.'
My comment: Other councils such as Cheshire West and Cheshire have also started to use 'gagging agreements' to stop potential whistleblowers in their tracks. Obviously they must have something they prefer to keep taxpayers in the dark about! Does anyone else see the irony of a situation in which taxpayers money is used to pay off potential whistleblowers so they, the taxpayer, won't know what their council is up to? Kathy Pollard hits the nail on the head when she states "it is obviously something to do with the culture of the council".
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