Georges River Councillors say no to a pay rise

Georges River Councillors have voted against giving themselves a pay rise.

A motion at last night’c council meeting that councillors adopt a two per cent pay increase for the 2022/23 financial year was defeated but not before detailed debate on the lack of recognition for the workload of councillors and a lack of respect for local government.

Mayor Nick Katris moved that the council adopt a two per cent increase saying had not had an increase for the past three years.

“No increase at all – not one cent,” he said.

“The increase being proposed is two per cent. The overall increase to the (council) budget will be $18,520.

“The minimum that has been given to the community is three per cent, the maximum is around 5.2 per cent.

“I can’t see why councillors who have not received an increase for the last three years, can’t at least accept a two per cent increase.

“I see any reason why the community would begrudge that miniscule increase.

“I actually believe that we deserve a little bit of respect for the jobs that we do and the amount of time we put into those jobs. This is a miniscule amount. It’s like .00010 per cent of the budget.”

Deputy mayor Kathryn Landsberry supported the mayor.

“I estimate that I could easily spend about 30 hours a week doing council stuff. We work really hard as councillors,” Cr Landsberry said.

“I think it’s a very reasonable request, just a few hundred dollars, bearing in mind we pay tax on it.

“It’s not like we’re putting the money in our pocket and are sitting around playing cards on a Monday night. We are here every Monday night. We work pretty hard for this. It doesn’t go anywhere near compensating us for the amount of work we do.”

But Cr Sam Elmir called for the council to have a freeze on remuneration of mayor and councillors.

“There are still people hurting out there,” he said.

Cr Elise Borg also spoke against the increase.

“After just being elected two months ago, I don’t think I can justify going out to the community and asking for a two per cent pay when the council has put up rates and removed things like the pensioner rebate.,” she said.

Cr Tegg spoke in support of the increase.

“$25,790 is our current stipend,” he said. “Two per cent of this is $515 or $9.90 a week. We do this not for the money but at the end of the day we are asking the community for an extra $9.90 a week.”

Cr Katris said the mayor is a full-time job including Saturdays and Sundays.

“We are not money hungry. We just want some respect for the job that we do and the time we put into it. And sometimes that respect comes in the form of remuneration.

“If you are working for 20 cents an hour do you really think that the community respects you or that you respect yourself?

“We are a very important level of government because we have direct contact with the people. We do a lot more work in terms of impacting on our community that those state government and federal government people do because they have very little contact with their community.

“I want respect instead of people turning around and saying to me – why do you do it?’ You’re crazy.'”

The council voted 9:6 against the increase in pay.

They then voted (11:4) to support that there be no change in councillor remuneration for the 2022/23 financial year.

Following this, they voted in support of the council making superannuation payments of 10.5 per cent to councillors from July 1, 2022, in line with the recent amendments to theLocal Government Act.

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