New Plymouth District Council could not decide what to pay for itself.
New Plymouth councilors have put further discussions on their pay rates on the table up to five days before Christmas.
On Tuesday, in what was to be one of the first decisions made by the new board at the start of the three-year term, directors unanimously voted to wait until the last meeting of the year to divide annual salary payment arrangements from a pool of $869,359.
That figure excludes New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom’s salary, which is set by the Remuneration Authority.
Holdom was first to stand up and address the salary scale recommendations he had made, which begin with Deputy Mayor David Bublitz earning the most — $87,466 a year — and incoming councilors with the least responsibilities receiving the least. The lowest paid counselors would receive $53,010.
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The mayor began by sarcastically thanking former Remuneration Authority chairman Dame Fran Wilde for introducing the pooled fund in 2019.
Holdom thought it was unfair to the councilors who had to set their own annual salaries.
“It puts all my colleagues in really awkward situations,” she added.
While Holdom said he’s tried to make the calculations as “painless as possible,” his love of a “good spreadsheet” clearly hasn’t cleared his hands with enough silver.
Councilor for the North, Tony Bedford, stood up to argue that those around the table who also had the job of being representatives on community boards might deserve a little more reward, before questioning whether he would support the proposal.
Former mayor Harry Duynhoven also raised that sitting on regional transport committees was not a thrifty use of time, before Anneka Carlson proposed an amendment she had previously slipped into governance lead Julie Straka outlining new reports on the wage scale.
As Straka typed in Carlson’s proposed figures — which weren’t read out at the meeting — senior policy adviser Greg Stephens squinted, corrected, and then asked for an update to make sure it all added up.
Holdom agreed, ordered the adjournment, then returned 15 minutes later to file a motion to have the recommendation remain on the table until December 20th.
Although he believed a majority of advisers wanted the matter resolved in a timely manner, Holdom said it was best to wait a few more weeks for a decision.