Council pay rise not enough: Yench

Cobar Shire councillors and the mayor will receive a 2.5 per cent increase in their annual payment fee, however Cr Peter Yench believes that increase should be much higher.

Councillors discussed a proposed wage increase at last Thursday’s council meeting with Cr Yench suggesting the mayor’s fee should increase to $100,000 while councillors should be paid somewhere in the vicinity of $50,000 to $60,000.

He said while these figures were not adopted by council he believed that remunerations of this calibre are needed to attract younger, more educated and tech savvy people to serve on council.

“Council is a $30million business, we can’t just think of the job of being a councillor as a hobby.

“Most councillors on average would spend four hours per week reading, researching and attending meetings to keep up to date on what’s going on,” Cr Yench said.

“Then if you are on other committees and involved with various local projects, the time you spend could be up to two or three days in one week.”

In line with the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, councillors voted to increase the mayor’s fee to $24,030 per annum.

The mayor’s assistant Janette Booth (who is also the general manager’s secretary) said she believes the mayor’s fee is completely reasonable when you take into account the amount of time Cr Lilliane Brady gives to the community.

“The mayor is in the council office from 2pm to 4.30pm weekdays, unless she is travelling to Sydney or other parts of the state to attend meetings to represent Cobar Shire Council,” Ms Booth said.

In addition, the mayor is also called upon to officiate at local events including ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies, various official openings, at a wide range of business, community group and school events and meetings as well as attending balls and social functions.

The councillors fee will increase to $11,004 per annum as of July and is within council’s draft budget for 2016/2017.