Our Town Clerk Earns More than The Mayor AND THE PRIME MINISTER!
The media and social media are running white-hot today as The Herald on Sunday publishes a front page spread on our Auckland Council CEO (a.k.a The Town Clerk) Doug McKay being paid $800,000+ for the last if not current financial cycle.
To get a gauge of the reaction I am basically going to do a Facebook dump of Councillor Cameron Brewer doing a media release (and Facebook link up) including ALL COMMENTS as far as 13:53 today underneath it. Remember BR:AKL (formally VOAKL) has the Facebook policy of; if the Facebook post was posted with the ‘public’ icon present rather than the ‘friends’ or ‘custom’ icons, then I consider it public domain and only fair to republish providing links and references are provided. If you do not like that then do not comment when a post is under the ‘public’ icon – simple.
And so from Councillor Cameron Brewer including his press release:
Well someone had to tell ratepayers!!! Although my media statement below kept away from the CEO, but the Herald On Sunday didn’t.
Media release – Sunday, 16 September 2012 - Auckland CouncillorCameron Brewer – COUNCIL DEBT UP $1 BILLION
IN 12 MONTHS, 1,165 STAFF EARNING OVER $100K:
Auckland ratepayers will be shocked to learn that council debt has escalated at a rate of nearly $3m a day in the past 12 months and that 1,165 Auckland Council staff now earn over $100,000, says Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer.
The Auckland Council has started reviewing its 12-month performance to the year ending 30 June 2012. Mr Brewer said it was surprising to see in the draft 2011/12 Annual Report that total council group debt had gone from $4.0b to $5.0b since the 2010/11 Annual Report was presented 12 months ago. (Excluding CCO debt, the council’s own parent debt has gone from $2.9b to $3.8b in the past 12 months) *1.
“The Mayor plans to triple council debt this decade and has already lifted the debt ceiling to enable this. However the fact that we’re up a billion dollars in the last twelve months alone shows that debt is blowing out faster than most of us thought. It’s a real worry because it’s future ratepayers who will be lumped with the crippling interest payments.
“In this economic environment, household debt has been shrinking so it’s totally out of whack to think that total council borrowings have gone up 25% in the past year alone.
“And it’s not as though we’re short of revenue. The latest annual report shows an annual income stream of nearly $3billion, with about half of that coming from rates.”
The 2011/12 Annual Report also revealed that 1,165 staff earn more than $100,000 with 564 of those staff working in the council-controlled organisations. Of the 1,165 staff, 123 earn over $200,000 with 82 of those working in CCOs.*2
Mr Brewer said councillors would be watching these numbers closely and notes that those numbers exclude the many consultants and contractors engaged by the council.
“The average wage and salary in New Zealand is pretty low and incomes have barely gone up in recent years. Auckland Council has got to pay professionals a professional salary but we’ve also got to keep a lid on increases and be conscious of ratepayers’ expectations and the fact that many are hurting out there.”
Mr Brewer says a lot of great things have been achieved by council over the past 12 months but the Mayor’s got to focus more on affordability.
“For the majority of Aucklanders their rates have just gone up significantly and all they can see is the council asking for more and more. People worry about prospective motorway tolling or an additional regional fuel tax, region-wide user-pays rubbish is coming, and the council is also considering banning all open fireplaces.
“To now also tell ratepayers that debt’s up by a further $1b in the past 12 months, and 1,165 council staff are earning over $100,000 will only add insult to injury for many,” says Cameron Brewer.
*1: Page 468, ‘24 – Borrowings’, Part 3, Financial Statements, Auckland Council Annual Report, 1 July 2011 – 30 June 2012.
*2: Page 495, ‘31 – Remuneration’, Part 3, Financial Statements, Auckland Council Annual Report, 1 July 2011 – 30 June 2012.
- Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay pocketed $840,000 in the past year, making him one of the best paid public sector bosses in the country.
- Mark Baker Words fail me.
- Mark Baker No WONDER the ‘interim’ CE wanted to stay on. I would too.
- Mark Baker ”Auckland ratepayers will be shocked to learn that council debt has escalated at a rate of nearly $3m a day in the past 12 months and that 1,165 Auckland Council staff now earn over $100,000, says Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer.” – that’s DEBT, not spending. Now, there’s good debt and bad debt as most people know. Credit card debt bad, mortgage (generally) good. Inter-generational debt raised to carry out essential work like upgrading sewerage infrastructure good. Debt raised in part to make sure we can pay obscene salaries to invisible senior staff? Possibly not so good.
- Andy Cawston I am aghast. That is over FOUR TIMES the salary of Local Government CEO’s only TEN YEARS AGO…!*WHAT* does Council think it is doing, paying THIS MUCH to Auckland’s CEO? Particularly given the shoddy performance of Council during this past term?
And for Council staff?
(Looks up the relevant committee for managing the performance and remuneration of the CEO. Black marks go against each and every single member, without any exceptions, on his “Balanced Scorecard”.)
“Profligate and Prodigal, Ill-considered, Arrogant, Improvident, Spend-thrifty and Wasteful” are all fair comment.
(And I am normally a supporter of Local Government, what it sets out to achieve, and the people who work on behalf of the Citizenry to achieve it. I cannot support this — not with any Credibility.)
- Dave Bishop 1,165 – absolutely unbelievable. I always wondered who could afford to buy homes these days and pay the councils increased rates-now i know. They should be on performance related pay, then none of them would earn over $100k.
- Mark Baker …so Rodney Hide can you tell us again about your grand plan to deliver greater efficiency and cost effective government through amalgamation? You stupid little man. Fix that dunce cap firmly on your shiny little bullet-shaped head.
- Mark Baker Nice pic of Invisible Doug tho. Rare that.
- Rick Law words fail me. Thank you for exposing this and making the public aware
- Megan Denize What is the total number of people employed by Council? It would be worth looking at the % in this salary bracket vs organisations of a similar size.
- Andy Cawston It would also be interesting to find out whether Auckland SuperCity is anywhere near being the #1 employer of people in this region, based on the number of people it employs, whether directly on payroll or indirectly with contractors and consultants.
- Mark Baker The LGOIMA should read: what is the total number of people employed by Council and all subsidiary organisations, how many consultants are employed by the new council at what cost, and what is the total wage and salary expenditure across the organisation and its subsidiaries? Supplementary question: how does this compare with the head count, consultant spend, wage and salary figures for the seven councils pre-amalgamation?
- Megan Denize Mark, that is a wonderfully eloquent summary at this hour of the morning : )
- Mark Baker caffeine ingested, all cylinders firing!
- Fran O’Sullivan Have you thought of releasing a positive statement re the council?
- Paul Hatchard Don’t blame Lefty Len, he is just is trying to keep up with his Idol ‘Obama’. Make a speech spend some money,Make a speech spend some more money… Seems to be working oh so well for both…
- Mark Baker Fran O’Sullivan great idea. Unfortunately, that would require a solid base of positive news from which to work and the services of some competent comms staff who are not constantly engaged fighting fires. Seems unlikely.
- Cameron Brewer Fran, I’d love to focus on promoting just the good news in council, like I did for five years in Newmarket. It would make my life a lot easier and I’d probably make some friends, but most people tell me to just keep doing what I’m doing.
- Mark Baker Someone has to even up the scales Cameron, neither you nor I are employed to spin this gargantuan dysfunctional beast’s news.
- Aaron Bhatnagar Cameron, you should put up a paper to your business forum that you chair/oversee. “Brewer’s five point plan for mainstreets and small business”. If they vote it down, you’ll at least be able to say “I did promote policy based on my extensive experience, but the left/officers rejected it. That’s why we need political change”.
- Mark Baker Ironic to see media calling on pollies to promote positive news eh? Can I quote from myriad conversations I have had with the esteemed Hackery over the years: “bad news sells” “if it bleeds, it leads”…etc etc…
- Andy Cawston @Mark — may I suggest one minor amendment, for the avoidance of doubt: “…how many consultants, CONTRACTORS, PART-TIME AND TEMPORARY WORKERS…” (all the rest STET)…Council being what it is, unless you stipulate “contractors” specifically (ie those who are hired on contract to DO WORK, rather than those who are hired on contract to CONSULT and provide advice) you won’t catch all of ‘em.
Best also to include those brought in for short-term (and often recurring) part-time/temporary engagements who would otherwise stand outside the “Authorized Establishment” — a typical Council trick to get around inconvenient staff shortages.
Given any wiggle-room at all, Council will usually try to find a way to wiggle out.
- Cameron Brewer NewstalkZB:http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/regak/1691453731-concerns-raised-over-akl-council-wage-billAn Auckland councillor is worried about a blowout in the city’s wage bill, with more than 1100 staff now raking in over $100,000 a year.
- Fran O’Sullivan I’d really like to know what this business forum that Cameron chairs is actually achieving Andy – so would business in Auckland I suspect.
- Kevin Campbell There are not enough councillors standing up for ratepayer justice in Auckland so its out of control.
- Andy Cawston @Fran O’Sullivan – from what we can observe, Auckland’s business environment is flatlining and requires CPR. The New Zealand economy is a one-trick-pony (Dairy) and its next largest employer is Government. Corporate New Zealand is exactly one Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak away from a 7-year national disaster, and biosecurity is not one of New Zealand’s strongest suits: as honeybee keepers found out 10 years ago…
- Fran O’Sullivan The question is what is Cameron doing as chair of this form to galvanize some action? He has an important role but we don’t hear anything in public from him on this. I appreciate the council has an EDS – but the group never gets heard from. What has it achieved? Do we need it?
- Andy Cawston There’s the Economic Development Forum (Cameron is deputy chairman of that) and there’s an entirely separate Business Advisory Panel (he is Chairman of that).I note from the August minutes of the latter panel that “…the Business Advisory Panel will be invited to the launch of the Economic Development Strategy, which is scheduled on Friday 14 September 2012 from 10.30am to 12 noon at the Hotel Novotel, Auckland Airport.”
That was last Friday. It would certainly be interesting to hear back on that.
- Rosina Hauiti Tell it like it is Cameron – ka pai.
- Mark Baker It IS good to see HoS journalists reporting what’s going on. It WOULD be nice to see HZ Herald journalists other than Bernard, Brian and Matthew taking some interest in what’s going on…but not if it’s just to top-and-tail the good news media releases on the odd occasion they are issued…
- Kent Neville-White The saddest part is that no-one is surprised. That’s how bad it actually is.
- Ben Ross There is the original post, right coffee time then a nice post on this
- Cameron Brewer The Business Advisory Panel has made more public pronouncements, and taken more positions, than all the other panels put together. It is set up as a gathering of Auckland businesspeople who give feedback and direction to the Mayor and council staff on policy. And it’s been doing just that. It has no decision-making responsibility.
- Fran O’Sullivan Is this featured in the Herald coverage?
- Ben Ross So let me get this straight, we ratepayers are paying the CEO who is really just the Town Clerk $800,000 of our hard earned money when he endorses or condones the following:1) Secrecy at all costs against Elected Councillors and the rate paying public
2) Condones Bullying from managers if that particular case from what was it Storm Water Division was anything to go by
3) Getting paid more than the Prime Minister for doing actual less than our Prime Minister
4) I wonder what his stance is on the Alcohol Reform Bill
5) Bullying Councillors who dare question him legitimately
6) Complicit in the Governing Body being nothing more than a Rubber Stamping Machine to his sole executive decisions or that of a CCO
7) Is the real power behind the Mayor
Heck almighty something is wrong here there seriously is. That problem being: “WHERE ON HELL DO I SIGN UP FOR HIS JOB” to cater my egotistical near sycophancy desires deep with in me…
On a serious note: he should not be on more that double a councillors salary – EVER!
- Ben Ross Well Mark Baker I might have some good news incoming for you in regards to The Herald and a nice article from Mathew popping up tomorrow.
- Lesley Opie 3 million a day? For once I am speechless……….but notfor long! Those at City Hall must think we ratepayers are real dumb and stupid. The rubber has hit the road – this spending must stop – now.
Phew that took a while in the format department. But in any case you can see that there some upset ratepayers out there over our Town Clerk’s salary which I would say is disproportionate in relation to other public sector officials, the private sector and most of all what the average ratepayer would earn – all things considered.
$200,000 would be a more acceptable salary for our Town Clerk – and one (the rate) that would not bother me for the size of our city, but not $800k folks – NO WAY! Just of interest; John Key as Prime Minister gets around $340,000 base pay while Len Brown as Mayor of Auckland gets around I think half of that – I’ll need to go check it out.
The Herald on Sunday also said that is proving to be a hot point was the indication that the Council is blowing our debt out of the drink as well.
From the NZH Article:
It comes in a year when council debt has risen at a rate of $3 million a day to $3.8 billion.
Council chief financial officer Andrew McKenzie said the debt included money spent on large capital purchases, including the $104 million ASB building and $90 million on electric trains. He said the “highly unionised” staff had salaries at market rates.
Bloody hell, no wonder why struggling ratepayers and business are REALLY struggling. We are required to be financially literate yet the Council can go on as financially illiterate as it is with the view it can and will not have any consequences.
Well a little thing called 2013 will see the mood of the ratepayer and how our elected representatives with weather the storm of anger from the vote.
For me – my formal comment will be in the next post…