Ex-Cooloola Shire Mayor Mick Venardos.
Ex-Cooloola Shire Mayor Mick Venardos.

Mayor Dyne defends council pays

INTERSTATE comparisons of salaries paid to councillors were inherently unfair because of different duties under different state laws, with New South Wales councils not having the same duties as those in Queensland, Mayor Ron Dyne said.

Commenting on a comparison between Gympie Region and Clarence Valley (The Gympie Times, May 20), he said councillors salaries here were identified by a state tribunal, with Gympie councillors opting to take less than recommended.

“We need to compare apples with apples. We need to be compared with other Queensland councils,” he said yesterday.

“We had a consultant come in and he reckoned we’re probably in better shape than most councils after amalgamation.

“We’re one of the few not in deficit. Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, North Burnett, South Burnett – they’re all in deficit.

“We sat down with staff and managed to get amalgamation working.”

Cr Dyne said the salaries were a result of recommendations from a state government remuneration tribunal, which identified different levels of councils and, from there, determined the level of salaries.

“We decided as a deliberate policy to take 90 per cent of what was recommended.

“I reckon I work about 85 hours a week all up. I’m there most mornings at 8 and leave at 5, unless I’ve got a function to attend, and then I read agendas and emails at night.

“If you’re on the level of some New South Wales councils, you’re not putting in 85 hours.

“Tony Perrett had to put on a manager for his business because he’s always in Gympie. I don’t know what my olive trees look like.”

Candidate at the last election Jeff Lambert did not agree with Clarence Valley general manager Stuart McPherson who said paying more money to councillors would result in better representation.

He said if divisional councillor representation was reintroduced it would be one step toward better representation that he believed was lacking.

“Perhaps Mr McPherson might like to come and talk to ratepayers here who have been slugged with huge rate rises and highly paid councillors.

His reasoning would get short shrift to say the least,” he said.

Former Gympie City and Cooloola Shire mayor Mick Venardos was non-committal when asked for his opinion.

“The responsibility of running the Gympie Regional Council rests with the current councillors,” he said.

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