NAROOMA and Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association (ERA) councillor Neil Burnside yesterday issued a media release on the recent vote on the Eurobodalla Shire Council general manager pay rate.
Council voted on Monday to offer the new general manager when hired a salary package range of between $260,000 and $280,000.
Mr Burnside alleged this was well above the average for councils of the same size, and more than many bigger council areas.
“Despite being given many examples of Councils paying much less than the proposed figure, the old guard of Ferg Thomson and Rob Pollock teamed up with the Greens councillor to win the vote over the ERA councillors with mayor Lindsay Brown being forced to use his casting vote to get the proposition through,” he said.
“The average pay for a general manager in our group of councillors is between $250,000 and $260,000.”
“Bega Valley, a similar sized shire with the same demographics, challenges and population pays their GM $230,000 per annum and, to our north, Shoalhaven Council, with more than double the population than ours and in a completely different category, pays the GM $235,000.
“But it probably shouldn't surprise anyone that they've pushed this through. To do otherwise would be to admit they've been paying past general managers too much for years.
“It also demonstrates that they've learnt nothing from the election result in September where angry ratepayers voted overwhelmingly for a change in behaviour in the council.
“While offering a big bag of money up front to attract a good candidate sounds like an easy way to get the right person to apply, it’s common knowledge that from day one in the job, it becomes a disincentive because it's difficult to reward performance from then on, when the salary is so much over 'the norm'. We pay more to arguably get a worse outcome.”
Clr Brown however defended the figure arrived at and stood by the decision made by the majority of councillors.
“We believe we are in the market for the best possible GM we can get,” he said. “Eurobodalla deserves the best GM it can get and this is an investment not a cost.”
He said the council at Albury had recently advertised for a GM at $290,000 and he alleged that council had a lower annual turn-over.
But he said figures could be twisted to back any argument and the new GM, depending on their experience, could end up earning as much as 10 per cent less than the previous GM who was on $285,000.