Corban refuses pay increase
South Waikato District councillors are set to get a payrise – using the salary of deceased councillor Barrie Herlihy.
At last Thursday’s full council meeting, councillors discussed the proposed remuneration changes as a result of Mr Herlihy’s death, just one month ago.
During the meeting, councillors were given options as to how the funding could be distributed, with the deputy mayor position held by Cr Shattock receiving the largest increase per elected member from $26,436 to $29,421.
Corporate and Environment, Community and Assets and Hearings Committees chairman Herman van Rooijen’s salary bumps up from $25,080 to $27,911, and Grants Committee chair Cr Watkins’ salary will move from $21,349 to $23,759.
The remaining councillors will see their salaries rise from $18,889 to $21,022.
However, councillor Lyn Corban, who was the only representative to refuse the pay rise, said in an emotional speech she did not want to ‘‘profit from somebody’s death’’.
‘‘I’ve been extremely uncomfortable about this and I don’t feel that I need to profit from some- body’s death so I’m not happy to receive this,’’ she said.
Mayor Neil Sinclair responded by saying, ‘‘Unfortunately the pool is put out there and the pool is given to us . . . We actually can’t leave the pool there.’’
To which Cr Corban replied: ‘‘But I can refuse to have it. It is my right to refuse to take that money . . .You can share it around the rest [of the councillors].’’
Councillor Brenda Watkins also weighed in on the debate, saying ‘‘What would happen if we all refused? We couldn’t [refuse it] could we?’’ she said.
Councillor Corban’s salary remains the same at $18,889.
Council was questioned whether it considered putting the allocation into a different avenue.
‘‘Council can’t decide this, the councillor remuneration pools are set by the Remuneration Authority for all local authorities – this is not something we set each year ourselves. Council’s resolution last Thursday goes to the Remuneration Authority for ratification,’’ council’s Corporate Group manager Ben Smit said.
Remuneration Authority chairman John Errington confirmed that he was advised on November 2 of Mr Herlihy’s death.
‘‘We have received a recommendation from the council concerning the re-allocation of the remuneration pool but the authority has not yet met to consider that recommendation.’’
Mr Errington said the authority is expected to consider it later this week.