Coun­cil strug­gles to keep staff on $200k

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

At a time when lo­cal body au­thor­i­ties na­tion­wide are com­ing un­der fire for the ex­or­bi­tant salaries paid to man­age­ment, Porirua City Coun­cil says it is strug­gling to pay its man­agers enough to keep them.

To the man on the street Porirua man­agers’ salaries might seem more than gen­er­ous – 19 staff are paid more than $100,000, five of those be­tween $ 175,000 and $ 200,000, and three be­tween $ 124,000 and $149,000.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son earns $298,000, an amount set by city coun­cil­lors.

Mr Simp­son is re­spon­si­ble for all other coun­cil staff salaries.

How­ever, re­cently re­leased salaries of Welling­ton City Coun­cil man­age­ment make Porirua’s pay­checks pale by com­par­i­son – 55 man­agers there earn over $ 100,000, and 15 more than $200,000.

Welling­ton City Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Garry Poole earns $419,000.

Cen­tral gov­ern­ment is Porirua City Coun­cil’s big­gest com­peti­tor for tal­ented staff, not Welling­ton City Coun­cil, Mr Simp­son says.

‘‘The dif­fi­culty with the salary rel­a­tiv­ity is down at cen­tral gov­ern­ment, where there are real labour pres­sures,’’ he says.

The Gov­ern­ment is staffhun­gry, par­tic­u­larly in trans­port roles, due to the Na­tional Roads of Sig­nif­i­cance pro­gramme, Mr Simp­son says.

Porirua City Coun­cil has to rely on life­style ben­e­fits to re­tain its man­age­ment staff, he says.

‘‘ We find it very dif­fi­cult to com­pete in terms of salary, we have to com­pete in terms of other ben­e­fits – close to home, smaller work­place, in­ter­est­ing work.’’

Porirua man­agers’ salaries are mar­ket-tested, tied to in­fla­tion, and re­viewed ev­ery year, Mr Simp­son says.

There will be an over­all re­duc­tion in staff salaries, in­clud­ing re­duc­ing the num­ber of jobs, in the next decade as part of the city’s Long Term Plan, he says.

Au­di­tors who read the draft plan con­sid­ered Mr Simp­son’s al­most un­re­al­is­ti­cally pru­dent, he says. ‘‘ But we’re work­ing to a fi­nan­cial tar­get.’’

It is un­der­stood the five Porirua man­agers earn­ing be­tween $175,000 and $200,000 are Peter Bai­ley, Moira Lawler, David Rolfe, Euan Dempsey and Darcy Ni­cholas, gen­eral man­agers re­spec­tively of as­set man­age­ment and op­er­a­tions; strat­egy and plan­ning; en­vi­ron­ment and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices; cor­po­rate ser­vices, and com­mu­nity ser­vices.

Ian White, 21, pro­mo­tions: ‘‘What they do should be re­lated to how much they earn – it’s way too much. If they’re get­ting rid of com­mu­nity stuff they should also be cut­ting some of their salaries. Tit for tat as they say.’’

Bill Mars­den, 55, ben­e­fi­ciary: ‘‘I think their salaries are all right, I’ve seen higher. The amount they earn should com­pare to their re­spon­si­bil­ity.’’

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