$150,000 in council staff bonuses
A fast-growing district has resulted in Waikato District Council spending over $150,000 on bonuses for staff over the past two years.
In 2016, the council spent $142,595.80 on performance bonuses. This was divided between 46 staffers at an average of just over $3,000 per staff member.
Chief Executive Gavin Ion said this is not the norm and the 2017 performance bonus figure of $25,607.55 is more in line with what has been spent previously. ‘‘Spending $142,595.80 on performance bonuses in 2016 was a strategic move and investment by council to ensure business continuity.’’
Over the next three decades the Waikato District’s household growth rate is expected to surpass Hamilton and match Auckland’s.
‘‘Estimating household growth from population projections, the Social and Economic Profile says the Waikato District can expect growth of 660 to 880 households every year leading to a total growth of 14,000 to 19,000 households by 2043.’’
This means there will be demand for a corresponding number of additional houses, Ion said.
These predictions are already supported by the number of building consents issued in the district – 2,006 for 2015 to 2016 and 1,977 for 2016 to 2017.
It’s even surpassed Wellington, making Waikato District the fourth highest-growth area in the North Island and seventh in New Zealand, Ion said.
‘‘This growth in the district hit a critical level in 2016, which is why bonuses were awarded to a number of staff to retain them in critical and hard to fill roles within the business and to reward staff for working above and beyond their job description and expected work load.’’
Performance bonuses are one-off payments given to staff for reasons such as outstanding performance, working in an area which is severely short-staffed, managing work in a high growth area, and retaining talent in hard to fill roles.
Money for bonuses comes from remuneration which is already budgeted for, Ion said.
‘‘This is not additional expenses. The additional funding can come from a number of reasons such as vacancies or new hires at a lower pay rate.’’
The council also runs its own WaiFactor Awards, which are annual awards where staff can acknowledge the great work peers are doing across council and within the community. Each category winner is rewarded with $300.
Seven staff members were awarded in 2016 and 2017 – $2,954 was spent in 2016 and $2,703.59 in 2017.