PAY RISE: Councillors Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch, Mayor Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald are in line for a 2.1 per cent wage increase this year.
PAY RISE: Councillors Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch, Mayor Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald are in line for a 2.1 per cent wage increase this year. Renee Albrecht

3 misconduct allegations made about Gympie councillors

CLAIMS of breach of trust and failing to declare a material personal or conflict of interest are among three misconduct allegations made about Gympie councillors in the past eight months.

The allegations were revealed in the latest Local Government Remuneration and Discipline Tribunal, along with the body's decision to award councillors a 2.1 per cent pay rise.

One of the three allegations were upheld by the tribunal.

Mayor Mick Curran.
Mayor Mick Curran. Renee Albrecht

In November a councillor was found to have breached the Local Government Act and twice "failed to declare a material personal interest or material conflict of interest”.

Two other allegations against a councillor of "breach of trust” or exercising their powers in a way that is not "honest and impartial” according to the Act were dismissed by the tribunal in October.

Mayor Mick Curran's annual wage will rise from $127,898 in 2018-19 to $130,584 in 2019-20 and Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch's will increase from $79,936 to $81,615.

Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch.
Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch. Renee Albrecht

The seven remaining councillors will be on more than $69,372 a year, up from $67,945.

In total the region's elected local government will cost more than $697,000 over 2019-20.

The pay rise is in line with the 2.1 per cent CPI rise in Australia over the 2017-18 financial year.

The tribunal said the CPI climb, a projected 2.5 per cent Queensland wage increase, and recent remuneration tribunal decisions in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria to increase councils' pay packets all contributed to the decision.

Gympie Council Chambers.
Gympie Council Chambers. Contributed

It also considered "anecdotal reports of continuing financial pressures facing many local governments and the conservative approach to the setting of remuneration levels previously adopted by the tribunal”.

Councils still have the power to reject the proposal.

Along with the impending pay rises, the report reveals three allegations of misconduct have been made against Gympie councillors since July 1 last year.

A Local Government Remuneration Commission to be established this year is earmarked to take over the tribunal's role.

Gympie Times


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