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‘Give us a break’

Saturday, 3rd August, 2013

By By Erica Visser

Council pay rise row a beat-up: Mayor

A group of residents has labelled the Mayor’s promise to give his 2.5 per cent pay rise to charity as a publicity stunt, but he says the whole matter has been “blown out of proportion”.

All councillors present at Wednesday night’s monthly council meeting, except for Jim Richards, Christine Adams and Dave Gallagher, voted for a 2.5 per cent increase to their $15,504 incomes.

The last time Council voted to increase the annual income was in 2009.

Mayor Cuy will by default also receive 2.5 per cent on the additional $38,000 he receives for the mayoral role.

But Mayor Cuy said he did not need the extra $1300 and invited people to nominate a charity for him to donate it to. He will pick the charity by Monday.

“I’m just sick to death of it, that’s all,” the mayor said.

“I didn’t vote ‘yes’ for me; I voted ‘yes’ for the councillors.

“The councillors have put the time and effort in, they’re the ones who miss work, have to take holidays to attend conferences and everything else.

It’s a reimbursement.

“For instance, I do not use a Council phone, I do not take a Council car, I drove my own car to Cobar the other day; they’re the things I’m sure the knockers out there don’t take into account.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that people who put their hand up to do the right thing by the community get castigated by them on every single thing.”

Mayor Cuy said that local media had accentuated a decision which he believed should actually be made by a higher level of government.

“What this does now is bring this into a political debate where people are using it to knock councillors,” he said.

“I think the media emphasis on it, from all walks of the media, is what’s blowing it out of proportion.

“At then end of the day it’s only $387.60 a year for each councillor and just over $5000 all up.”

But a spokesman for the newly-formed Broken Hill Residents Association said that Mayor Cuy’s offer to donate to charity was “purely to generate self promotion”.

“Broken Hill has become a welfare-dependent city and the people of Broken Hill cannot afford a reasonable standard of living with a large rate increase while the councillors give themselves a pay increase,” he said.

“It is interesting to note that the net gain of approximately $300 is about what the average rate increase will be.

“Do the councillors think that the citizens of this once great city can be conned so easily?”

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