CEO says councillors deserve more

But Kwinana chief executive Neil Hartley says he’s happy for a tribunal to decide councillor wages.

The Salaries and Allowances Tribunal is completing an inquiry into councillors’ fees, expenses and allowances, with its findings to take effect from July.

The fees and allowances were last changed in 2005 and councillors currently receive a $7000 meeting allowance annually, plus travel, phone and computer expenses.

The maximum mayoral allowance is $60,000 plus $14,000 in meeting allowances while the deputy mayor can receive an allowance equal to 25 per cent of the mayor’s plus meeting fees.

Mr Hammond said the level of remuneration needed to be high enough to attract ‘passionate, committed and skilled people to public office irrespective of their personal circumstances or financial situation’.

He said the State Government should consider helping pay for increased councillor salaries.

‘There is no doubt that more sensible remuneration will attract a wider range of candidates and the State Government certainly can help in that regard,’ he said.

Mr Hammond said some of the City’s councillors who worked 20 hours a week effectively earned about $7 per hour.

‘A lot of this activity is at nights and on weekends, and dealing with some quite controversial and challenging issues,’ he said.

‘That works out at around $7 per hour, which I am sure most people would agree is simply not fair.

‘It is an insult to their commitment and dedication to the community.’

Mr Hammond said full-time councillors was a separate issue and believed the current elected system of councillors worked well.

‘Fundamental functions and roles of elected members would need to change if full-time positions were to be contemplated,’ he said.