Councils have spent huge amounts on the salary packages of general managers and CEOs, with some earning more than the PM and NSW Premier. SEE THE LIST
Councils have spent huge amounts on the salary packages of general managers and CEOs, with some earning more than the PM and NSW Premier. SEE THE LIST

Council fat cats paid more than Premier, PM

Ratepayers are being forced to give council CEOs massive salaries that dwarf the wages of Premier Gladys Berejiklian and even Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

A state government review of council salaries is expected early this year - and is predicted to pull the pin on this publicly funded generosity.

The most eye-watering pay package came out of the pockets of Parramatta residents last year, who coughed up a total of $633,852 in the 2019/2020 financial year.

That not only paid for CEO Brett Newman, who started in September 2019, but the cost of an acting CEO as well as extra pay for senior staff who took on some of those duties.

City of Parramatta Council CEO Brett Newman got paid more than $630K in the 2019/2020 financial year.
City of Parramatta Council CEO Brett Newman got paid more than $630K in the 2019/2020 financial year.

To put that into perspective, Mr Morrison only earned $549,229 in that time.

Another 14 councils ordered their residents to dig deep so their bosses could take home more than Ms Berejiklian's $408,000 salary.

The second-highest earner was Ray Brownlee, CEO of Northern Beaches Council. Mr Brownlee's remuneration package came to $512,092.

But then he does have a Public Service Medal, which he was awarded in the 2015 Australia Day honours.

Close behind him was Monica Barone at the City of Sydney, who earned $511,954.30.

Despite looking after low socio-economic areas, Canterbury Bankstown's Matthew Stewart trousered $501,938, Blacktown's Kerry Robinson collected $486,744, Fairfield's Alan Young picked up $484,588 and Georges River's Gail Connolly pocketed $460,017.04.

PM Scott Morrison earned $549,229 in the 2019/2020 financial year. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
PM Scott Morrison earned $549,229 in the 2019/2020 financial year. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has a $408,000 salary. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has a $408,000 salary. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

Councillors vote on these remuneration packages, while most senior public service positions - including state and federal MPs - are decided by an independent tribunal.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said it has to change.

"The increasing gap between the salaries paid to senior management and the people at councils who actually do the work for residents needs to be reversed," he said.

"No CEO of a council should be getting more than the premier and the prime minister. Every extra dollar paid is a dollar that can't be spent on local services and infrastructure."

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said the government is considering changing this situation.

"The government is strongly considering mandating salaries of general managers to be set independently of elected councillors. The review is due in the first half of 2021."

 

 

A spokesman for Parramatta Council said the huge remuneration package covered multiple staff acting in the role as well as Brett Newman.

A spokeswoman for the City of Sydney said the CEO's salary was decided based on similar city councils.

"Monica Barone has not sought or received a salary review or bonus during her time as CEO. All senior staff salaries at the City of Sydney are benchmarked against comparable large councils and major public sector organisations. (They) manage services for Australia's only global city."

Originally published as Council fats cats paid more than Premier, PM


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