30 Apr, 2014

Remuneration Review Submission on Behalf of City of Adelaide Elected Members

In response to media reports today on Council’s submission to the Independent Remuneration Tribunal on Councillor remuneration, the following Letter to the Editor has been submitted to The Advertiser.

It’s provided below for your consideration.

Dear Editor,

The conversation about Councillor remuneration is much more involved than today’s Advertiser headline of “60% Pay Rise” would suggest. While it’s easy for a back of the envelope calculation to give you a headline, it’s worth a read of Council’s submission to the Remuneration Tribunal to get the real context of the operating environment and expectation on Councillors.

Our submission is not about expressing a dollar figure around remuneration, but rather about presenting the independent Tribunal with the best possible information to support them in making an assessment that’s in the long term best interests of Adelaide.

Talk of increased remuneration for anyone in public office always stirs significant discussion within the community and I think people engaging in that conversation need to ask themselves a couple of key questions to help best inform themselves and the debate.

First of all, do we need high calibre people running the city and making key decisions about its future, like for example how we manage over $1.2 billion in assets and expenditure of $200 million each year?

The other critical one for me is whether a current allowance that equates to around $15 an hour is sufficient to encourage people who are running a business or working to support a family to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours of their time each week to play a role in our city’s future?

With new Council elections in November this year, our submission talks to the importance of continuing to strive to attract the very best nominations to the roles.

In it, we provide detailed benchmarking from Capital City jurisdictions around the country to show how we stack up in a range of categories including residential growth, the size of the city economy, the scale of the city workforce along with our annual expenditure and asset base. These areas demonstrate the strength of growth and the value of the “City” to the State economy.

We also take into account the time commitment required to serve the City and provide comparisons on remuneration in other cities, and how it compares to a range of other Boards. This aspect speaks for itself and provides a clear illustration on where Councillors sit locally and nationally.

I want to stress our submission is not about a cash grab or lessening the value or efforts of other volunteers in the community. It’s about presenting facts to the Tribunal to inform their decision so that we can continue to attract diverse and talented applicants to the role of Councillor, which is in everyone’s interest.

You can view our submission here.

Peter Smith
City of Adelaide CEO

For more information

David Hill