Pay-cut discussions

YOU'D have to question the sanity of someone who agrees to take a pay cut.

But at yesterday's Southern Downs Regional Council general meeting each of our elected officials voted in favour of accepting a slashed pay packet.

Councillors' wage rates are suggested by a Local Government Remuneration Tribunal but they still have the right to reject the recommendations.

While the Federal Government MP's accepted a pay rise, the state didn't follow suit.

Because amalgamation loading will be cut off after the 2012 election, wages will drop and the mayor, for example will take a salary of $109,719 instead of $116,917.

Yesterday Mayor Ron Bellingham said he supported the tribunal as it took the "petty politics" out of councillors' wage decision-making.

"It's always been high on my agenda to take the political rot and opportunism out of what happens around councillor remuneration," Cr Bellingham said.

"It shouldn't be the controversy it is and its people outside who drive that agenda."

However, Cr Mally McMurtrie said she wouldn't have a problem with the decision if it were a "level playing field" before reciting a list of extras SDRC councillors go without, such as a work car, phone, secretary or office.

With news of the delay in the 2012 local government elections, Cr Bellingham couldn't resist a "tongue in cheek" jibe at the State Government.

"Now that the (council) election is deferred, I wonder whether they will pay us the overtime," he said with a laugh.


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