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Defiant Black hits back

Friday, 2nd August, 2013

Councillor Peter Black Councillor Peter Black

By Kurtis J Eichler

Peter Black says ratepayers don’t care about councillors and the mayor getting a pay rise because they have already given up on City Council as a “dead loss.”

The outspoken Labor veteran and councillor yesterday defended himself against criticism for putting forward a motion that councillors get a 2.5 per cent top up to their $15,500 remuneration.

Councillors get an extra $387.50 a year while Mayor Wincen Cuy will be given $1337.50 more per annum.

All the Labor councillors plus councillors Cuy and Bob Algate voted for the rise.

Mr Black yesterday said he stood by his decision, calling it the right one.

“I certainly didn’t want a pay rise for myself,” he told the BDT. “I did it for the principal of the Labor Party.”

People he had spoken to on the street the day after Wednesday’s meeting weren’t bothered by the hike, he said.

“I think the general consensus has been that many people have given up the City Council as a dead loss.”

Councillor Jim Richards lashed the 70-year-old’s motion, saying it “doesn’t look good” and Clr Dave Gallagher said the move was an act of “hypocrisy”.

Yesterday Clr Gallagher added that he was “surprised” Clr Black could both accept a pay rise and pour scorn on the Council’s financial status. 

“I don’t go to any of the snout-in-the-trough functions that (Clr Gallagher) goes to,” Clr Black said.

“I don’t have a council blazer, a council polo shirt or a council (iPad).”

Mr Black drew fire from his opponents when shortly before asking for a pay rise he called for a “razor gang” to be installed to spearhead a restructure of City Council.

He still maintains had the results of September’s Local Government elections swung his way, the streamlining of the organisation would already be underway.

“Wincen Cuy accused me of living in the 80s.

“Well, everyone I talk to is saying they want to be back in the 80s because we were in a better financial position then.”

Mr Black ran a hard-fought campaign ahead of the election, stating that senior management positions should be axed and hard-line savings measures be put in place to improve City Council’s bottom line.

In 1996 - Mr Black’s last term as Mayor - he supported a move to boost his pay and that of the councillors by three per cent.

Mayor Cuy gets a pay rise on his councillor wage and on his mayoral wage of $38,000.

He has vowed to give his new rise to a charity of the community’s choosing.

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