From the Newsroom

Councillors accept pay rise

Geoff Helisma

 

The valley’s councillors have accepted the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal’s recommended “increase of 2 per cent to mayoral and councillor fees for the 2021/22 financial year, with effect from [tomorrow] July 1”.

Debate on the matter at last week’s June 22 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting was brief, but was called by Cr Greg Clancy so he could “vote against it”.

“I acknowledge that the fees councillors receive are not exorbitant,” he said.

“We did get a rise last year … and there are members in the community who think it is excessive.

“In some quarters the council is not seen in a positive light.”

Cr Clancy said it would be a “challenge for the new council” elected in September, to improve CVC’s reputation.

However, Cr Clancy said he was voting against the rise because “I don’t believe the community see it” as justified, “even though I support a two per cent pay rise [in the future] if I get re-elected” and CVC’s image improves.

Cr Novak said she “did not support” the increase “at this time because of what our community has been through and asked to give up”.

“Yes, it’s a wage increase, if you want to call it a wage,” she said.

She said she earned “about $2.85 an hour” and is “on call 24/7”, but “I don’t feel it’s a good look because everyone [has been] asked to steady up”.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Jason, Kingsley said, “You’re probably earning more than me at $2.85 an hour.”

Cr Arthur Lysaught said, “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

Councillors supported the pay rise 7-2, with councillors Clancy and Novak opposed.

A year ago, councillors, apart from councillors Clancy and Novak, accepted significant increases in their payments, which acknowledged CVC’s new designated category, Regional Centre.

Councillors’ fees increased from $17,490 to the maximum fee, $24,320.

The mayor’s pay increased from $52,715 to $77,400 and the deputy mayor Jason Kingsley’s pay increased from $20,045 to $31,320 – councillors decided to pay the deputy mayor an extra $7,000, (taken from the mayor’s maximum allowance), which is continued for the next financial year.

The mayor now receives $79,090, the deputy mayor receives $31,810 and councillors receive $24,810.

Up until last year’s reclassification, CVC’s councillors had rejected increases each year since the adoption of the 2013/14 year’s allowances.

Meanwhile, a CVC media release from last year, titled ‘Pay rise will attract more people to local government’, said the higher councillor remuneration provided “many benefits to the community, especially with the election of a new council scheduled for [September] 2021”.

“With a more reasonable allowance being offered, we anticipate more people will be encouraged to get involved with local government and, as a result, we will see an increase in the number and range of candidates for the next election,” Corporate and Governance director Laura Black said.

“This provides more choice for voters.”

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