Councillors vote themselves a pay increase in a pandemic
TWEED Shire Council has voted in favour of accepting a pay rise in a tight 4-3 vote after a feisty debate during Thursday's ordinary meeting.
Tweed Shire was reclassified by the Local Government Renumeration Classification as a regional centre which meant the maximum fee payable to a councillor would be $24,320 and the maximum for a mayor would be $60,080.
Councillors James Owen, Chris Cherry, Ron Cooper joined mayor Katie Milne in supporting the pay rise while councillors Reece Byrnes, Pryce Allsop and Warren Polglase opposed.
Cr Polglase said that the council needed to show leadership during this time as he opposed the increase.
"I think council has a responsibility to show compassion … it's an enormous amount of money and I hear in the electorate that the council should show leadership … this is a time you are required to go down this path and show we support our community," Cr Polglase said.
"I am saying to councillors we should be considerate of our jobs and responsibilities."
Cr Cooper slammed Cr Polglase for his opposition to accepting the pay increase.
"I think I should use a famous prime minister's phrase that I will not be lectured to by that independently wealthy man," Cr Cooper said.
"It's a job that takes you away from your family and what we go without won't get to the rest of the community."
"To be lectured too like that is just unacceptable, it's okay for him but nothing he said made any sense … it was just putting on a show, waving a flag around and getting attention."
Cr Cherry was staunch in her support for the increase saying it justified the hours the councillors were putting in.
"If we don't get paid for our services, we need to get our finances from somewhere else and all those things take away from our ability to serve the community."