Councillors vote on $1400 pay rises
GYMPIE Region councillors have voted down a proposed pay rise in light of its financial situation - a move that will save $15,000 next year.
At yesterday’s meeting, Division 5 councillor Dan Stewart moved the council turn down the 2 per cent pay rise recommended by the State Government Remuneration Commission.
“Given the financial circumstances and given we are asking staff to find ways to save money, we need to be in it together,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon seconded the motion.
“A good councillor would not accept a pay rise. It’s a pay rise we haven’t asked for,” Mr Smerdon said.
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“We have the opportunity to refuse it and I think we should refuse it in this present day.”
All councillors voted against the pay increase, except for Mr Polley, who said it was “virtue signalling”.
“I find it ‘squirmish’ to be sitting here arguing over what amounts to $15,340 across nine councillors,” he said.
“If people think this is a genuine saving in the overall budget, then their thinking is a little short sighted as it is only for 12 months and then next year it goes back up.
“I am not here for the money. I am here for all the right reasons - to see Gympie region become all that it can be with prudent management.”
Division 4 councillor Bruce Devereaux agreed but said it was important to show the community they would do the right thing.
“It’s a small thing, to not take that … but they’re not going to back pay us for this year so that is a saving,” he said.
“We’re acknowledging that this council is going through tough times and we’re not going to milk it for everything we can get.
“I want the community to know that this council is different to what we’ve had in the past.”
Mr Polley said he didn’t disagree with the reasons put forward but wanted to present another side of the argument.