COUNCIL PAY, RATES HIGH
GREATER SHEPPARTON COUNCIL’S HIGHEST EARNERS ON MORE THAN $300 000
As rate-payers feel the pinch of some of the highest rates in the region, Greater Shepparton City Council’s annual report has revealed its three top paid staff are earning more than $300 000 per year.
Compared to similar councils such as Ballarat, Greater Bendigo and Greater Geelong, only the chief executives of those councils command such remuneration.
Rates in those municipalities are lower, but Corporate Services director Chris Teitzel and former councillor John Gray said comparing rates was a difficult exercise.
Three of Greater Shepparton City Council’s top earners pulled in more than $300 000 for the 2017-18 financial year, its latest annual report shows.
No directors at comparable councils such as Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong commanded such remuneration, the annual reports of those councils show.
The figures may include factors such as long service leave, but Greater Shepparton City Council said it could not reveal the details of who was being remunerated the high amounts due to commercial and privacy issues.
‘‘We take the view that the contractual relationships are private to the council,’’ corporate services director Chris Teitzel said.
Two more staff were paid more than $200 000 and nine commanded more than $145 000.
Total remuneration for what is listed as ‘‘key management personnel’’ rose 12.92 per cent from $1 600 592 in 2016-17 to $1 807 389 for 2017-18.
Mr Teitzel said part of the jump was associated with a long service leave transfer.
He said wages for council’s nonexecutive staff rose 1.7 per cent.
The ‘‘key management personnel’’ category includes councillors and Mayor Kim O’Keefe, who are on $24 730 a year and $76 521, respectively.
Former Greater Shepparton councillor John Gray said it was not possible to distinguish which individual offices would be attracting the highest level of pay.
‘‘I have never known how much anybody was getting,’’ he said.
‘‘The council only employs one person (the chief executive) and as such that person then runs the organisation, including taking responsibility for the appointments.’’
Mr Gray said chief executive Peter Harriott presumably attracted the highest remuneration for 2017-18, listed in the reports as between $320 000 and $329 000.
That figure was equal to or less than comparable councils, with the head of Ballarat City Council on a similar figure, Greater Bendigo on more than $340 000 and Greater Geelong on more than $370 000.
Greater Shepparton led the average rates for the four districts.
Victorian Government data shows average residential rates per residential property was $1525.79 for Geelong, $1660.64 for Ballarat, $1677.94 for Greater Bendigo and $1918.85 for Greater Shepparton.
Mr Teitzel and Mr Gray said it was difficult to compare rates between different municipalities.
‘‘It’s difficult to compare apples with apples when you’re looking at the different councils. One factor would be the historical decisions of the councils involved,’’ Mr Teitzel said.
Mr Teitzel said the Victorian Government imposed a rates rise cap of 2.25 per cent three years ago that did not take into account different levels of debt and other factors. Mr Gray agreed. ‘‘It’s extremely difficult to make a comparison,’’ he said.
Crunching the numbers: Corporate services director Chris Teitzel said a large jump in remuneration for key management personnel revealed in Greater Shepparton City Council’s annual report was attributable to long service leave transfers.