Boom to bust on bonuses

Boom to bust on bonuses

The former mayor’s comments came after the Stirling Times revealed the City’s chief executive earnt an $18,066 bonus last financial year, with 20 other executives eligible for bonuses.

Cr Boothman said although he understood why the City first implemented a bonus scheme to improve employee retention rates at the height of the mining boom in 2008, it needed to change its policy in line with the economic climate.

‘At the height of the mining boom, local government as well as many other areas were losing people hand over fist to the mining industry, with lots of positions that were fiercely competitive, and council had to respond like that at the time,’ Cr Boothman said.

‘Obviously times have changed and we’ve got to revisit it. With future contracts, we’ll have to consider what the prevailing conditions are as to appropriateness of issues like bonuses.’

Fellow councillor and former mayor Terry Tyzack said he supported bonus payments as long as they were discretionary and linked to measurable outcomes.

But he said the City of Stirling’s reluctance to provide non-private details of the chief executive’s contract highlighted a deficiency in the Local Government Act that prevented elected members from any involvement in administrative matters.

‘A chief executive is therefore the sole arbiter in relation to the voluntary release of sensitive or contractual material,’ he said.

‘It should also be noted that as a consequence of the aforementioned restrictions contained in Local Government Act of 2007, elected members at Stirling had no role in the reported 2008 decision by the chief executive to introduce bonuses for directors and managers.’

Stirling corporate services director Ed Hearne said the City’s retention rates had improved significantly since the implementation of several strategies, including bonuses. The City’s retention rate, which sat at almost 20 per cent in 2007-8, has been reduced to 11.9 per cent.

Cr Boothman said the City could not stop paying bonuses overnight, with many executives having years to run on their current contracts.

But he expected the council would revisit its wages and salaries offered in line with changes to the wider public service.

A Local Government and Communities Department spokeswoman said it was up to the chief executive of a local government to determine staff salaries, with the salary of a chief executive determined by council.