FREMANTLE mayor Brad Pettitt’s pay could double to $120,000 and councillors’ triple to $21,000 if the salaries and allowances tribunal accepts a Fremantle council submission recommending a big pay boost.
The tribunal is reviewing local government pay rates, with recommended changes taking effect from July 1.
“There hasn’t been an increase in eight years,” Dr Pettitt says.
“Salaries were matched to a backbencher’s pay but they weren’t indexed against inflation.”
Dr Pettitt says the most he can earn, without superannuation, is $60,000 a year plus $14,000 for going to council meetings.
While there is no requirement for mayors to give up their day job, in practical terms most do and commit to the role full-time, meaning the mayoral allowances are their principal and sometimes only income.
Councillors are paid $7000 a year “and many put in well over 20 hours a week”, Dr Pettitt says.
“I think mayors’ salaries should be set by the tribunal and fairly reflect the level of work required.
“I don’t feel comfortable suggesting what my salary should be as I am no expert in this area.
“The money is obviously not what drives me and most of us to get on council. Like many others, I took a pay cut of over $30,000 when I became mayor and have no regrets about that as I have loved the job.”
But he says the pay should not be so low it discourages, “quality candidates from applying or force strong performers out because they can’t sustain the financial sacrifice involved”.
He believes most residents will support the idea of remuneration being set independently.
by CARMELO AMALFI