Mr Barnett’s comments came as five of Perth’s 30 local governments confirmed they offered bonuses to their chief executives, including the City of Wanneroo, which paid chief executive Daniel Simms a bonus of 9.5 per cent of his base salary last financial year.
Mr Barnett said although bonus payments were common in the private sector, he did not see the reason for offering them in the public service.
‘While bonus payments are a common feature of executive remuneration in the private sector, they have very little relevance to or application in the public sector,’ he said. ‘Generally, I don’t think bonuses are appropriate in areas of public service, including local government.’
Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said Mr Simms and senior executives had a bonus incorporated into their contracts.
‘This is a performance-based bonus and is only paid if key performance indicators agreed by the council are met,’ she said.
She explained that the bonus scheme was used to attract and retain high-performing staff at the top of their respective fields.
The Weekender requested details of the actual amount paid to Mr Simms and other executives but the council had not responded before this edition went to press.
City of Stirling acting chief executive Ed Herne also defended the scheme. ‘The skills and responsibilities required for executive and top management positions are considerable, and the number of people who can fill these roles is limited,’ he said.
On the other hand, Town of Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said there was no justification for paying chief executives a bonus.
‘As far as I’m concerned, our chief executive and all chief executives are more than adequately paid, including all the add-on benefits they receive and there is absolutely no justification for paying them a bonus as well,’ he said.
‘Unfortunately, there are some councils which think that paying a bonus improves performance. I just don’t share that optimism.’