Clarence Valley Council will vote on whether councillors will receive their first pay rise since 2014 at the meeting on July 28, 2020.
Clarence Valley Council will vote on whether councillors will receive their first pay rise since 2014 at the meeting on July 28, 2020.

POLL RESULT: Community responds to council payrise plan

TODAY Clarence Valley councillors will vote on whether or not they will receive a payrise.

Mayor Jim Simmons has moved a motion to raise councillor pay up to $24,320 a year and mayoral pay up to $60,080. The increases of $6,830 and $24,855 respectively is the maximum allowable under a new category created by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

The meeting will be livestreamed on Clarence Valley Council's Facebook page from 2pm. Click here for more details.

If approved it would be the first payrise for Clarence Valley councillors since 2014. However, the community has not been very sympathetic to that fact, citing the current economic climate due to COVID-19 in particular as a reason against the payrise.

Former deputy mayor Craig Howe was among those who expressed his opposition to the payrise, stating on social media "I'm not a critic of council. However, the optics in this look worse than bad".

The Daily Examiner conducted an online poll to gauge community sentiment ahead of today's meeting. The poll was first published last Thursday and voting closed at 10am today.

Overall 35 per cent of respondents agreed councillors should receive a payrise, 64 per cent voted against a payrise and 1 per cent were indifferent.

Of those in favour of a payrise, 6 per cent felt they should receive less than the maximum amount proposed, which will cost ratepayers $89,022 per year.

Meanwhile, of the naysayers 20 per cent believe the current rate is fair, while 22 per cent agreed councillors should in fact take a pay cut due to the current economic climate. Another 22 per cent were insulted by the proposal and selected the option for all councillors to be sacked.

Here are the results of the poll:

Should Clarence Valley councillors receive a payrise?

This poll ended on 28 July 2020.

Current Results

Yes. People underestimate the amount of work and responsibility required to be a councillor.

22%

Yes. Low pay locks out potential candidates, especially younger people.

6%

Yes. But less than the maximum amount proposed by the mayor, which will cost ratepayers $89,022.

6%

No. The current amount is fair.

19%

No. They should get a pay cut instead. Why should the private sector be the only ones to suffer during COVID-19?

21%

No. They should all be sacked. What an insult to ratepayers doing it tough.

22%

Who cares? The economy is stuffed anyway. Just keep on wasting our money.

0%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Initially the poll was only exclusively available to Daily Examiner subscribers who read Tim Jarrett's opinion piece, and early polling had the cumulative 'yes' vote at 52 per cent.

Interestingly, after the poll was posted free to the Clarence Valley Rate Payers, Residents & Business Owners Facebook page and then further promoted on The Daily Examiner Facebook page via this post, the result skewed heavily in favour of opposing a payrise.

The Daily Examiner Facebook post attracted 146 comments. Here's what some people had to say:

Joanne Kitcher: They don't do enough to have a pay rise. And with the way things are. The front line nurses, police, medical staff etc deserve rise, but the council really. No way.

Mary Salter: As if a Daily Examiner poll is going to stop our Councillors helping themselves to a pay rise! Disgraceful that they even think they are entitled to more money.

Nay Valentine: I keep hearing the words "we can't afford it" from this council yet all of a sudden you can afford something which is self serving and not in the best interests of the community.

Brenda Lawrence: No. They need to invest in more services to benefit the entire community and do more planning that will lead the Clarence Valley into the future.

Tina Patterson: Yes - maybe not just now.

Scott Rainbow: I have often said the people we need in government are off earning s***loads more in the corporate world. Until we pay appropriate wages for the responsibilities they have then we will continue to often have the wrong candidates doing the jobs because they simply aren't skilled enough.

Holly Rae: No!!! World is in a recession... Absolutely no one should be getting a pay rise.

Heather Switzer White: Don't even consider it while you have councillors who have no regrets about losing the air services.



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