Councillor’s pay rise anger

Councillor’s pay rise anger

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Councillor Rob Coales plans to move a motion at the August 19 ordinary council meeting to recommend council does not accept the one per cent pay increase for the 2019-20 financial year.

A Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale councillor is hoping his fellow councillors will follow his lead in rejecting a one per cent pay increase for the organisation’s shire president and councillors annual allowance and meeting fees. 

Councillor Rob Coales plans to move a motion at the August 19 ordinary council meeting to recommend council does not accept the pay increase for the 2019-20 financial year. 

Every year the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, an independent state government body, sets the minimum and maximum fees, allowances and entitlements payable to council members. 

On April 9 the tribunal published its pay determination for the 2019-20 financial year, which determined the shire’s council members were entitled to receive a one per cent pay increase. 

Mr Coales said he was first made aware of the increase at a budget workshop and was told any increase to councillor’s fees would need to be adopted by council. 

But he said to support any sort of a pay increase would be a slap in the face to many ratepayers who are currently struggling in a tough economic climate. 

“We are experiencing increased financial pressures including the cost of living and there are many in the community not receiving a pay rise,” he said. 

“I didn’t support the rates increase and to have ratepayers who are doing it tough, paying an extra 1.3 per cent in rates and then to support a one per cent pay increase to councillors is simply wrong. 

“To not be advised of the Salary and Allowances Tribunal decision and to simply have the extra amount put into my account is evidence of the perception that the shire does not listen to the community.” 

Acting chief executive Helen Sarcich said in November 2017 council endorsed a policy that council members were to receive 75 per cent of the maximum annual allowance determined by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal (SAT). 

The maximum allowance and meeting fees for the shire president under the 2019 SAT determination is $94,503, while the maximum for the deputy shire president is $39,069 and the maximum for councillors is $23,230. 

Mr Coales said in his opinion the role of a councillor must be reflective of the community’s expectations. 

“There is an allowance that is paid and councillors know that amount before they stand for election,” he said. 

“To be a councillor is not a fast track way to make extra money. 

“There is too much wastage in the public sector and councillors must be there to do the right thing by the community first and foremost.” 

The motion will be discussed at the next ordinary council meeting on August 19.