UPDATED: Be in no doubt that Andrea Hill almost certainly believes that she is worth her huge Â£218,592 annual salary. Also be in no doubt that the 80 councils that attended an awards ceremony in London's Grosvenor House Hotel quaffing champers until 2am (with some putting the bill on the public) believed they deserved to be there.
But those that criticise such salaries and actions are not, as Andrea Hill, the chief executive of Suffolk County Council, would have you believe, just jealous. The criticism stems from the total lack of empathy these people feel when those around them are seeing their lives being potentially shattered by the government's upcoming austerity drive.
For public sector merry-makers to take even a penny, let alone Â£1,500, out of a children's service's budget to pay for their roistering is criminal.
For a public sector chief executive to spend public money on hotels so that she wouldn't have to travel 60 miles in the morning for breakfast meetings is both selfish and criminal when people face losing their jobs. To also spend money on personal leadership courses and publicity photographs is also selfish and criminal. However, regarding the photographs, the photographer concerned, Robert Johns, puts another side to the story in his blog here.
Andrea Hill claims that, as a successful person, she should be heralded and regarded as a role model for young people to aspire to emulate.
“Does being a Âpublic servant mean it’s OK for your Âchildren to be bullied, for your friends to be pestered and for your PA to be shouted at over the phone? People who are successful at work should be held up as role models to help our young people in Suffolk aspire to success. But it seems that some would prefer to engage in the politics of envy – to such an extent that there are now websites calling for people to carry out extreme acts of Âviolence against me and to follow me home” she wrote in her newsletter.
If her children have been bullied that is wrong, if her PA has been shouted at that is wrong and if she has been physically threatened that is wrong. For people to make their feelings known is right.
She and other high earners like her may believe they are role models, but what is a role model? Someone who earns a lot of money? Someone who is great at acting or sport? Someone who is famous for just being famous? Children of famous people? Or is a true role model someone who quietly gets on with helping others and making sacrifices along the way, those that work tirelessly behind the scenes making other peoples' lives better where they can and taking little in return?