Election promises not worth a pinch

The Beagle Editor, Did you know that the Prime Minister's base salary is $211,250. Mr Morrison’s salary is made up of a base payment, determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, received by all parliamentarians, and an additional salary calculated as a percentage of the base.

As of July 1, 2020, the base salary was $211,250, while the additional salary comes to $338,000 – taking the prime minister’s combined annual pay to $549,250, or just under $1505 per day. But then he is the Prime Minister of the country. The average remuneration for a NSW council general manager in 2019-2020 was $328,287 The last we heard of the Eurobodalla Council's General Manager salary was in November 2019 when the community discovered that the General Manager's remuneration jumped by a staggering 6.1% from $296,866 to $315,000. It took twenty months for Council to finally reveal that figure. The disclosure of the General Manager's salary had been a long time coming since July 2017 when it was reported that Eurobodalla Shire Councillors gave Dr Catherine Dale a resounding endorsement at the Tuesday 13th June 2017 Council meeting when the results of her annual performance review and an extension of her contract were voted on. Council advised then that Dr Dale’s contract as General Manager had been extended for five years, commencing from 1 July 2017 with Mayor Liz Innes saying the vote "acknowledged Dr Dale’s outstanding achievements against the nine key performance indicators she was assessed on." A review panel comprising all nine councillors assisted by an independent facilitator assessed the General Manager against nine areas of governance, organisation leadership, community relations and communications, financial sustainability and budgeting processes, asset management, land use planning and applications, business development and tourism, community services, and risk management. While it is understood that the review was by self assessment it is also understood that the final determination was delegated by the councillors to the Mayor to finalise negotiations, delivering a on good report card with an very generous remuneration package. There remains continuing disappointment, distrust and consternation around Council's defiant reluctance to reveal the General Managers remuneration following notice of her contract being extended. Complaints to the Office of Local Government around the failure resulted in indifference saying Council was not obliged to release the information until it was convenient and in context to do so. The initial anger around the General Manager's reappointment process was the fact that, by her own advice, the Council meeting Agenda item for her Salary review, and possible reappointment, was disguised from view and the subsequent minutes were found wanting of detail or completeness. At the time the Councillors chose to ignore three well informed speakers who challenged the procedure prior to their going into confidential citing the Local Government Act. This failure of procedure on the part of councillors gained Council a letter of castigation from the Office of Local Government. It took twenty months for the Eurobodalla community to discover that the General Manager's remuneration jumped by a staggering 6.1% from $296,866 to $315,000 in 2017. This was a Captains Call as the other councilors gave the Mayor the final say on the salary. Council salaries are to come under the spotlight by the NSW Office of Local Government, who will be looking at pay packages across the State to figure out if the payments in NSW should be 'curbed'. Currently, councils are free to determine the remuneration they pay to their general managers and senior staff based on a range of considerations including the skills and experience applicants bring to the role, the size and operational complexity of the council, market conditions and industry benchmarks. Councils are required to publicly report on the remuneration they pay to their general managers and senior staff in their annual reports. In Council's 2019-2020 Annual Report it states that Council had five senior staff positions. The General Manager during that period had a remuneration package of $330,946. Four Directors were employed for 2019-20. Their combined total remuneration for the financial year was $1,006,918 ($251,729 av.) Compared to the Prime Minister who is on $1505 per day the GM is only on $906 per day. But is that too much. Next door in Bega, in 2019-2020, their Council had three senior staff and a General Manager in the executive structure. During this period the General Manager had a remuneration package of $293,960 and the combined total remuneration for Directors was $597,500 ($199,166 av.) Eurobodalla Council and Bega Valley Council are grouped together along with Wingecarribee, Albury, Byron, Dubbo and Lismore. Of interest Mayor Liz Innes told the Narooma News "How about we start a conversation on politicians and bureaucrats reducing their wages for an interim period to help people in the hospitality and retail trade who are doing it particularly tough," she said.

"In that conversation, we also need to talk about an increase in wages for front line health workers. These are conversations we need to have. You are right Mayor Innes. Maybe we should begin this conversation. What have you and your councillors achieved in trimming excesses You told us in your CAA Manifesto in 2016 when you were spruiking your electoral promises Council must live within its residents’ means. Increased rates affect everyone, whether owner or renter. We will endeavour to freeze rates for the next four years. We will seek a performance audit of Council finances to ensure money is spent properly and wisely. We will investigate how to get the best return for ratepayers from Council assets. We will establish a Waste Watch Committee to get maximum value and minimise waste. You and your team have been miserable disappointments and should hang your heads in shame of making promises that you never kept. "To build a Council you can rely on. A Council you can trust. A Council which is your friend not your enemy." "We will take notice and we will take action" "And we will establish an independent Ombudsman to allow residents to appeal against administrative actions they believe are unfair." Name and address supplied