Councillor pay rise - split decision

COOMA-Monaro Shire councillors are set to receive a pay rise.

The annual fee for a councillor will increase as of July from $9,570 to $10,740, the maximum allowable, while the mayoral allowance will rise to $34,180 up from $30,462.

Councillors were split in their voting on the fee increase when it was presented to them at their monthly meeting last Tuesday.

The mayor Dean Lynch was forced to use his casting vote, with the decision split four against and four in favour.

Councillors Lynch, Rogan Corbett, Martin Hughes, and Craig Mitchell were all in favour of raising the fees to the maximum which is set by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

Councillors Tony Kaltoum, Ignazio Mondello, Winston Phillips and Bronnie Taylor opposed the fee increase.

Those in favour of pay rise argued that the increase was fair compensation for the amount of work and time councillors spent undertaking their duties.

"How many hours a week do you spend on being mayor," Cr Mitchell asked Cr Lynch.

Cr Lynch said while he spent a lot of time as mayor, he didn't put his hand up to be on council for the money.

His argument was that the pay should be increased to attract quality candidates to the job in the future.

"Shouldn't there be an incentive for people coming on to attract good quality candidates," he said.

Cr Hughes felt the increase would be fair compensation.

"Since I came on to council the work level for councillors has increased enormously," he said.

"I think it's only fair to be compensated for it.

"I don't do it for the money, because its not worth it," he said.

"But I feel there should be compensation with some financial assistance.

"This small increase is not an incentive to put your hand up for council. You wouldn't put your hand up for mayor if you knew the hours involved."

Cr Tony Kaltoum argued against the fee increase.

He said while he believed councillors were worth more money than they received, councillors should work as volunteers for the community.

"When Winston [Phillips] and I came to council we got nothing," he said.

"You do it because you want to do it- not for the money.

"This is an insult what they give you in exchange.

"To get the value of this each of us should be on $60,000 to $70,000, the mayor should get $120,000.

"We do it for the community."

It will the first pay rise councillors receive in three years.

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