Council struggles to keep staff on $200k
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.’’