Letter | Accountability and Transparency: Managers Salaries

In the light of recent reports and public reaction to the proposed hike in sporting fees charged by Tamworth Regional Council because of the “cost of preparing playing fields”, the following may be interest to fellow citizens (ratepayers).

Recently in the Northern Daily Leader there was an item in which our Mayor, Col Murray, announced that Tamworth Regional Council's General Manager was to receive a salary increase of 14 per cent, justified “because it will bring his salary into line with other similar sized Council’s general managers”.

Based on our understanding that the salary of our General Manager is about $305.000 p.a., a 14 per cent increase is close to $43,000. That (i.e. $350,000 p.a. – about the same as a federal cabinet minister) to us seems a rather generous increase, courtesy of the ratepayers of TRC and raises some interesting points that others may care to ponder. 

Given that wage growth in Australia since the GFC is at an historic low of 1.9 per cent p.a. Which is the maximum that wage and salary earners can expect, and that ordinary council workers are limited to a 3 per cent increase in wage/salary over 3 year (i.e. 1 per cent p.a.) is 14 per cent excessive?

As a large proportion of TRC citizens do not earn $43,000 per annum, can the 14 per cent rise for the General Manager be regarded as excessive? TRC rate payers will have to contribute a higher proportion of their rate payments to cover this increase yet have to also find extra funds for their children to play sport.

The GM of TRC obviously agreed to the salary and conditions when he applied for the position he now holds. While it would be expected that he would be entitled to salary increases along with other employees, others in our community have no access to the largesse referred to above.

Further the recent announcement that $20,000 is being sought by our Mayor for his 5th trip to China, along with some other council employees, seems to suggest along with the above that money for some causes is no problem, yet money for essential activities, such as sporting and recreational activities is always difficult.

Other issues which may be of interest to residents could include: salary levels of middle management; the proportion of employees in administration vis.a.vis outdoor staff; the cavalier attitude with which public land is sold for private gain and the seeming neglect of our smaller settlements.

Tony Weaver, Tamworth and Bob Abberfield, Timbumburi

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