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Thursday
Mar032011

Councillor Remuneration (2)

I don't wish this to be seen as 'sniping', but as indicated in an earlier post, it was disturbing to see the amount of time - 22% of the entire public meeting spent on remuneration, reimbursements and facilities for Councillors.

I believe that there are anomalies that need fixing, but some of the discussion yesterday verged on the ludicrous with an overall impression of entitled-ness. The major decision worked around the 'pool' established by the Remuneration Authority, and the need to better remunerate the Board Chairs who now attend Council, and apparently have enhanced functions. 

The decision was made to reduce Councillor remuneration by $1,000 ($8,000 all up) which would go into the Pool and be made up by an equivalent amount as is allowed from outside the Pool to $16,000. No Mayoral contribution was proposed for some reason

To this would be added the $750 tax free communication allowance. The net increase per Chair would be $3,950 ($750 tax free) to over $14,000. The decision incorporated the adoption of the $750 tax free to all Councillors, which fortuitously means that they in effect lose nothing, though they do claim that the $750 is an 'entitlement'. Make up your own mind on that - it is a new payment that has to be claimed. 

Councillor Wells warned of a possible reaction from the fifteen other CB members who would no doubt feel aggrieved at the difference between their pay and that of the Chairs.

The Secretary was instructed to prepare a submission to the Authority requesting a review of the 5,000 kilometer @ .70c allowance - in effect to get it raised to 10,000, or even to get separate thresholds approved for each Councillor. There was much congratulation from the Mayor to those who had agreed to car-pool from Whitianga in particular - hardly an imposition in the light of the new 5,000 km limit.

The meeting was then subjected to an impassioned plea from Councillor Hoadley to enable members to obtain far greater consideration in regard to storage facilities and use of desk-top computers at Council, and the supply of laptops and internet connections for personal use. Councillor Hoadley unfavourably compared the conditions of TCDC Councillors with those of members of the Auckland Advisory Boards, and other Councils.  Her outburst did occasion a level of embarrassed amusement from her colleagues.

Councillor Hoadley then made an interesting observation that she had never hidden the fact that she lived outside the District at Castor Bay, North Shore, and that accordingly felt justified in claiming    mileage allowance for 130 kms both ways ($182), but generally only once for each group of meetings that she attends.

There are many who believe to the contrary that Councillor Hoadley made a great issue during the election of her intention to change her place of residence to her Thames base if elected. Her claim for mileage therefore has some questions about it. Councillor Hoadley mentioned in passing that she considers herself the member for absentee (North Shore) rate-payers.

Having started at 1.20pm the meeting the went into Public excluded at 2.35pm - 1 hour and 15 minutes. Whew!

 

 

 

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