Goulburn Mulwaree councillors will not receive a pay rise under a recent Tribunal hearing.
But their Bathurst Regional counterparts will score a $4000 annual increase and the Mayor an extra $20,000, thanks to a NSW Local Government Remuneration Tribunal ruling. It will take their pay to $24,320 and $80,080 respectively.
The increase comes courtesy of a re-categorisation of Bathurst Council from a rural regional council to a regional one. It had to meet a threshold which included a total economic value of over $100 million annually, economic activity exceeding $2 billion and providing a "high degree of regional services." Orange and Dubbo were also dubbed regional councils.
Goulburn Mulwaree councillors earn $20,280 and the mayor - $44,250 on top of that. Owing to a freeze on public service wages, not even a standard 2.5pc increase will apply this year.
Mayor Bob Kirk lodged a submission to the Tribunal last December. He did not request a re-categorisation, simply that councillors' pay match the responsibility of running a large business and be on par with their metropolitan counterparts.
Goulburn Mulwaree is still classified as a rural-regional council.
Cr Kirk said he wasn't surprised that his submission was overlooked and stressed he was not motivated by money.
"It is what it is," he said.
"It's not a critical factor or why we're here but once upon a time the community expectations were different to those today. There is greater accountability and scrutiny and it makes the task doubly critical."
Cr Kirk argued councillors' role was akin to that of a company board. The average director board fee was $58,000 for private companies and $88,000 for publicly listed companies, he previously told The Post.
Yet councillors were only paid an average $14/hour for up to 25 hours/week.
He said he put in a minimum 39 hours/week and averaged sixty. Representative duties include meetings, briefing sessions, functions and reading reports.
The Local Government NSW also cited the role's increasing complexity, given a raft of legislation, and called for adequate recompense.
"The current profile of a councillor in NSW reflects a pool of candidates which are largely retired, semi-retired or independently wealthy," its submission stated.
"An increase in the fees paid to elected representatives will help improve the quality of candidates and broaden the pool of potential future councillors, to ensure better community representation."
Cr Kirk said no one relied on the pay as a primary source of income and all were happy to serve.
"But it needs to match the expectations, in my view. You only have to look at the public comments to realise what those are," he said.
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