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Once again the Mayor and Councillors play the community for fools.

At a Confidential Meeting of Councillors on 28th September, 2010, a Salary Review Committee, comprising the Mayor, (Clr. Thomson), Councillors Vardon and Dance together with an unnamed Industrial Adviser from the Local Government and Shires Association met to grant the General Manager an unbelievably extravagant pay increase.

Let me tell you that the LGSA is, in itself, a very large organization with multi-million dollar budgets which exist to “promote Local Government to the community” and to “Provide Specialist advice and services” for its Council members. Since the LGSA exists on subscriptions paid by member Councils, you can guess where their primary allegiance lies and it isn’t with the little ratepayers at the bottom of the food chain. It is not surprising that Mr. Bruce Miller, President of the Shires Association, told the ABC Radio that “the General Manager down there is one of the very highly competent General Managers in Local Government”.

Now look at the Mayor’s spin from his Memo of 13th October 2010, indicating that the salary review was “under the guidance of an independent facilitator from the LGSA” and that “this independent guidance means that we are able to be very objective and free of bias in assessing the performance of our General Manager”.

Council can go on about community consultation – wouldn’t you think a truly independent person could be asked about performance and pay scales when they are up for review?

As to justification for this pay rise of 5.5% over and above the State determined 3.5% CPI, we must ask what contribution this General Manager has made to Council’s operations or service to the community. The Salary Review Committee refer to 50 KPI (Key Performance Indicators) being met. It would seem to us that with two unsuccessful Rate Rise requests because Council did not present a strong business case, failed to comply with savings and efficiency requirements, there must be one box in the KPI not given a tick. What about service cuts, failure in core services (Araluen Road), unprofitable commercial ventures, demoralized Council staff, alienated community groups, sporting clubs, volunteers, lifeguards, pools, libraries …

Keep watching this Council carefully. They are good at moving the goalposts and justifying their actions. In fact there seems to be a lot of backtracking going on now that the community is applying some real pressure. You will hear how the General Manager needs compensation for his long working hours, even though he has 7 Directors and 430 other helpers on tap. The Mayor will tell you how he has restored lifesaving services (by using the good will of local businesses !), how Council is pursuing Business Excellence, Continuous Improvement Programs and audits of various departments to enhance their efficiency and performance.

You might even hear that Council cannot afford to lose the General Manager because the cost of recruiting a replacement would be more than the salary rise ! That may be so, but think of the real cost of leaving things the way they are.

Maintain the rage and keep the Petition signatures coming in.



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