Councillors on less cash

BUNDABERG Regional Councillors have voted themselves a 2.5% pay rise, but they will actually receive slightly less than they did last year.

The increase, voted on yesterday, was in line with recommendations by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

But the reason they will receive $6 less than last year is because of a phasing out of an amalgamation loading that will stop at the end of 2011.

The amalgamation loading was put in place because of the extra workload councillors were expected to shoulder during the bedding down of the amalgamation process.

The increase was passed unanimously at yesterday's council meeting, with no discussion by any of the councillors.

Council governance spokesman David Batt said from the end of 2008 to the end of this year councillors would have had a pay increase of 1.1%.

“From the end of this year there will be no amalgamation loading,” Cr Batt said yesterday.

“Then in January 2012 the council will have to make another decision on its pay.

“But we know that the community is doing it tough, and businesses are doing it tough, and the council basically voted to stay on the money they were on.”

Councillors' wages are benchmarked against state MPs' salaries, with the mayor to receive 95% of an MP's pay, the deputy mayor 67.5% and the councillors 60%.

Under the new pay scale, mayor Lorraine Pyefinch will receive $127,110 and deputy mayor Tony Ricciardi $90,320 before the amalgamation loading.

Cr Pyefinch will receive an annual amalgamation loading of $5540 until June 30, then $2770 to the end of the year.

Cr Ricciardi's loading will be $3880 then $1940.

Councillors will each receive $80,280, with an annual amalgamation loading of $3400 to June 30, dropping to $1700.

Cr Batt said there had been no discussions among councillors over the pay issue.

“There haven't been any talks behind closed doors,” he said.

The tribunal had made its decision by December 1. Councils had 90 days to decide on their pay.



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