Councillor to give pay rise to local charity
MARANOA councillor Geoff McMullen voted against getting a pay rise, now with no choice but to receive one, he will be donating the extra money to the Roma hospital.
Cr McMullen and mayor Tyson Golder were the only two of the nine representatives on the council to vote against the Local Government Remuneration and Discipline Tribunal's recommendation to take a 2.1 per cent boost to their annual salaries.
"We are still set to have our pay packets increased," Cr McMullen said.
"While technically true, I intend on asking the council to donate my increase in pay to the Roma Hospital Auxiliary as a charitable donation.
"In six months I might choose to put the money to another charity."
While the pay increase for the majority of councillors will be about an extra $55 a fortnight, Cr McMullen said he "didn't feel right" about it when so many community members were struggling.
Crs McMullen and Golder were slammed by their colleagues, accused of voting down the pay increase as a political stunt ahead of next year's elections.
"I was not 'grandstanding' for my own benefit," Cr McMullen said.
"We know that resources are limited at the council, and we do not have a surplus amount of money to fix all the issues in the region.
"I am also aware that many local businesses are doing it tough financially.
"While I am confident many in the private sector would like to give themselves a pay rise, many are unable to do so, and I do not feel it's appropriate we should receive a pay rise when others can not."
In a February 1 article The Western Star published that councillors had previously voted unanimously to increase their pay packets since 2016.
However Cr McMullen wanted to clear up as to what the previous three votes were about.
"The mayor and councillors did not receive three new pay rises as suggested," Cr McMullen said.
"In the previous term of council, prior to the 2016 election, an article was published regarding the mayor and councillors taking a pay cut, due to the re-categorisation of the council by the Local Government Remuneration and Discipline Tribunal. It was not a voluntary decision."
At a council meeting in February, 2016, Cr McMullen said a decision was made to note the new schedule and for the CEO to report to the incoming council. The three 'pay rises' were to increase pay, to keep it in line with that of previous councillors before the reduction."