Councillors give themselves a pay rise
Central Coast councillors have voted eight to six to give themselves a pay rise at the July 13 council meeting.
The pay rise was supported by most Labor councillors as well as independents Cr Jane Smith, Cr Chris Holstein and Cr Louise Greenaway.
Cr Greg Best, Cr Bruce McLachlan and Liberal Cr Jilly Pilon, Cr Rebecca Gale and Cr Chris Burke voted against it.
Labor councillor Cr Doug Vincent also voted against the pay rise and one Liberal councillor, Cr Troy Marquart, was not at the meeting.
A councillor's remuneration now rises from $30,410 per year to $32,040.
The Mayoral fee moves from $88,600 to $99,800.
The full increase means an adjustment to the council budget of an additional $35,650.
However, the matter will be discussed again at the next council meeting after Cr Best gave notice he would move a rescission motion.
Cr McLachlan said he would support the rescission motion.
Cr Best said: "This will give all concerned another opportunity to reconsider this totally out-of-touch self-awarded pay rise.
"This Council recently raised rates by $4.4M after losing $41M last financial year and now the same people can somehow justify a pay rise with the mayor getting a further $11,000 bringing her total remuneration to $131, 000 plus a luxury car and expenses.
"If this were a private corporation working on real KPIs and performance criteria, the administrators would have been called long ago.
"Simply put, our community is really struggling under the weight of Covid-19, struggling to make ends meet and struggling to find a job, let alone to get a pay rise.
"This just says it all, an absolute slap in the face of our ratepayers by an out of touch Council, clearly spending someone else's money."
Gosford West ward's Cr Holstein, whose ward covers the Peninsula, defended the increase.
"This remuneration argument has been going on for 30 years and one reason council can't attract a wide range of councillors is because the pay is woeful," he said.
"This is a reclassification of the work we do.
"It works out about $30 a week.
"It is the sixth largest council in Australia and one of the biggest financially in Australia.''
He suggested it was quite easy to see from attendance records that some councillors found it hard to get to all meetings because of other commitments.
He said his diary showed in one year he had attended more than 130 meetings, more than 80 events and more than 60 video meetings.
The pay increase became available because the Local Government Remuneration Board had reclassified council.
While councillors did not have to adopt the maximum amount, a report from council staff recommended that it was appropriate for a council the size of the Central Coast to remunerate councillors at the higher level.
"While this represents an increase, this needs to be considered in the light of the fact that Council has long held that it should be in a different category," the report said.
The council is now the only council in a new category of Major Strategic Area, with a remuneration range the same as for a Major Regional City.
Central Coast Council agenda 3.4 and 6.1, 13 and 27 Jul 2020