‘You pay peanuts, you get monkeys’

‘You pay peanuts, you get monkeys’

By PATRICK WOOD – TheDailyAdvertiser.com.au

A PERFORMANCE-based pay scale should be introduced for Wagga City councillors to sort the wheat from the chaff, according to a number of respondents to The Daily Advertiser’s public survey.

A third of the 585 respondents said councillors should remain on their current remuneration rate of $17,000, while only 37 people said they should receive $50,000.

Seventy people said councillors should receive no pay at all and, as one respondent put it, the argument comes back to the quality of candidates the city attracts with meagre remuneration.

“It depends on the amount of time they invest. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys,” the respondent said.

“Remuneration should be subject to the work carried out and involvement in other activities. I would like to see councillors’ wages of at least $40,000 so as to encourage younger people to apply for a role,” wrote another person.

The concept of a performance-based remuneration isn’t something the mayor, Kerry Pascoe, is willing to support at this stage and it would likely be rejected by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.

“Performance-ba sed would be extremely difficult to equate through any kind of process because you might have someone turn up to a meeting and then leave halfway through it; how do you equate that?”

Earlier this year councillors lost a bid to have the NSW Remuneration Tribunal increase wages above 2.5 per cent, despite arguing of high community expectations and media scrutiny.

“This is partly due to changes in technology and the greater range of options and digital devices now available for community members to keep track and provide comment on council issues,” Cr Pascoe wrote in a submission to the tribunal.

“There has been an increase in the volume and complexity of council business for which councillors are expected to study, understand and comply.”

This argument has garnered little support from some former councillors who say changes to the Local Government Act in 1993 put more responsibility on the general manager and significantly alleviated councillors’ workload.

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