Councillors, mayors paid for meetings they do not attend under remuneration policy

Councillors, mayors paid for meetings they do not attend under remuneration policy

MAYORS and councillors are being paid for council meetings they do not attend because of the way most local governments remunerate elected members.

Unlike the City of Perth that pays its mayor and councillors an attendance fee, the Town of Victoria Park and cities of South Perth and Belmont are among the majority of councils Community News surveyed that pay elected members annually.

Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said it was up to individual councillors to give ratepayers value for money by attending meetings.

“Under the annual allowance method, an elected member will be paid regardless of their attendance record,” he said.

“But they are obligated to meet the attendance requirements as prescribed by legislation.

“Meeting attendance fees only cover public council meetings specifically, which is only a small reflection of the total effort given by elected members who also attend many more committee meetings, workshops and training sessions in their capacity as a community leader.”

The Town has made annual payments to elected members since 1999.

Community Forum Victoria Park president David Ashton said councillors should be attending meetings but if they were not, the ultimate accountably was at the ballot box.

“Our members have discussed it and felt council allowances may be set a little to high,” he said.

“The preferred course would be to pay councillors a minimum sum with an application process to allow an increase dependant on attendance and other factors.”

The Southern Gazette reported on July 3 that attendance rates with all councillors present for the Belmont, Victoria Park and South Perth was 62.5 per cent, 55 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, since the latest local government election in October.

MEETING FEES

VICTORIA PARK: Mayor $30,841, Elected Members $23,000

SOUTH PERTH: Mayor and Elected Members – $220,000 (not disclosed individually in budget)

BELMONT: Mayor $47,046, Elected Members $31,364