Time on the job could mean pay rise
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.