Pay in­creases for top coun­cil staff

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

Thirty em­ploy­ees at Porirua City Coun­cil earn more than $100,000, a big in­crease on 2012.

The re­cently re­leased Ratepay­ers’ Re­port by the Tax­pay­ers’ Union stud­ied salaries, ex­penses, as­sets and costs for New Zealand’s 67 coun­cils. It cov­ered the year to June 30, 2013, us­ing in­for­ma­tion from coun­cils’ an­nual re­ports.

Porirua City Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son’s salary, set by city coun­cil­lors, is $312,224. It was $298,000 in 2012.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett earns $105,314, up from $101,333 in Oc­to­ber 2013. His salary is set by the Re­mu­ner­a­tion Author­ity.

Along with Simp­son, the top earn­ing man­agers at the coun­cil are Wendy Walker (strat­egy and plan­ning), Roy Baker (cor­po­rate ser­vices, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer), Euan Dempsey ( com­mu­nity ser­vices), Peter Bai­ley (as­set man­age­ment and op­er­a­tions) and David Rolfe ( en­vi­ron­ment and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices).

It is un­der­stood each earns be­tween $175,000 and $200,000.

Simp­son said he was com­fort­able with what the se­nior man­agers earned, and that they were sub­jected to a ro­bust process to jus­tify their salaries.

‘‘We use in­de­pen­dent mar­ket data that sets the value of their jobs. It’s not a ca­sual process,’’ he said.

The rea­son for the rise – from 23 to 30 (out of 249 full­time staff) – in coun­cil em­ploy­ees draw­ing more than $100,000 was twofold, Simp­son said: con­trac­tors be­com­ing staff mem­bers and em­ploy­ees in the $90,000 to $100,000 band get­ting pay in­creases af­ter re­views.

At­tract­ing qual­ity staff was al­ways dif­fi­cult, with Welling­ton City Coun­cil and the Govern­ment down the road, Simp­son said, but Porirua was hold­ing its own.

‘‘The money is­sue is some­thing fac­ing all lo­cal coun­cils, but our point of dif­fer­ence is fac­tors like be­ing close to home, di­ver­sity of work and a smaller staff.’’

Simp­son said the Tax­pay­ers’ Union re­sults were ‘‘hugely pleas­ing’’.

Al­though the aver­age rates bill for Porirua ratepay­ers was $2344, com­pared with an aver­age of $1892 for city coun­cils and $2019 for all coun­cils in New Zealand, Porirua’s debt lev­els and aver­age spend on ratepay­ers made for good read­ing, he said.

The coun­cil spent $3974 on each ratepayer, while the aver­age spend by other city coun­cils was $3411 and the na­tional aver­age was $3671.

‘‘Our debt, re­lated to as­sets, puts us way up the list and the re­sults show that we’re in fun­da­men­tally good shape.

‘‘ Only Welling­ton is ranked above us over­all in this re­gion and while they have a huge as­set base, their debt is very high.

‘‘The scope of things we do in Porirua does cost, but our low debt does give us ca­pac­ity to bor­row if there is a dis­as­ter.’’

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