Time on the job could mean pay rise

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By JES­SICA MAD­DOCK

Cen­tral Otago’s mayor hopes a na­tion­wide sur­vey of lo­cal government politi­cians’ work­loads will lead to fairer pay for the district’s com­mu­nity board mem­bers. Coun­cil­lors through­out the coun­try have been asked to pro­vide the Re­mu­ner­a­tion Author­ity, which sets their salary and fees, with in­for­ma­tion about how much time they spend on the job. Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil Mayor Tony Lep­per said that un­til now elected mem­bers’ re­mu­ner­a­tion had been based on the cap­i­tal val­ues of prop­er­ties in the area they rep­re­sented, and the pop­u­la­tion. The author­ity now recog­nised this was an in­ac­cu­rate way of de­ter­min­ing elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ salaries, he said. While com­mu­nity board work­loads were not be­ing scru­ti­nised at this stage, he had asked them to also pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to the author­ity. He hoped it would strengthen the coun­cil’s case for ‘‘fair com­pen­sa­tion’’ for the district’s com­mu­nity board mem­bers. They had a great deal more de­ci­sion-mak­ing power and re­spon­si­bil­ity than com­mu­nity board mem­bers in other ar­eas. When lo­cal government through­out the coun­try was re­struc­tured in 1989, the Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil chose to give its com- mu­nity boards the power to make im­por­tant de­ci­sions for their com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing water and waste­water ser­vices. This meant Cen­tral Otago com­mu­nity boards had re­spon­si­bil­ity for mil­lions of dol­lars of ratepayer funds, while in most other ar­eas com­mu­nity boards dealt with only thou­sands of dol­lars. Mr Lep­per said the coun­cil planned to seek the high­est salary pos­si­ble for board mem­bers from the Re­mu­ner­a­tion Author­ity. The sur­vey of coun­cil­lors’ work­loads showed they spent an av­er­age of 13 hours on the job a week. At present Cen­tral Otago’s mayor was paid $76,295 a year and coun­cil­lors earned $6147. Vin­cent and Cromwell com­mu­nity board mem­bers were paid $6723 and the chair­per­son $7683 on top of that. Com­mu­nity board mem­bers in Man­iototo and Roxburgh earned $3361 and the chair­per­son an ex­tra $3842.

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