Upper Hutt Leader
Mayor Wayne Guppy and the city's 10 councillors are now receiving increased salaries, following the Remuneration Authority's refusal to accept their rejection of it.
And they are putting their ratepayer-funded money where their mouth is . . . mostly diverting the increased pay to either a mayoral fund or individual charities.
The council's combined salary has increased by more than $8600 to $398,237 for the 2012-13 year, with the improved pay now being paid fortnightly and backdated from July.
In May, the council voted to turn down the authority's pay "recommendation," publicly citing the tough economic times the Upper Hutt community was facing and the inappropriateness of any pay hike.
The collective "say no" decision of the council generated considerable publicity nationally but the move was not copied by any other local authority in the country.
After a vote endorsing their stance, the council made its reasons known, by submission, to the authority although there was some acceptance their position could be over-ruled.
The authority enforced that Mr Guppy receive a near 5 per cent rise ($4200, taking his annual pay to $93,3000) and the councillors a 1.5 per cent increase ($4434 in total, about $440 each).
On Thursday, as part of a non-public workshop, Mr Guppy and councillors were informed the adjusted pay rates were now in place as was the indicative, but not binding, decision they would donate their extra money (after tax) to the community.
Most of the money appears headed for a mayoral fund, a discretionary account to meet community hardship.
WHERE THE DOLLARS ARE GOING
Elected representatives were asked what they intended to do with their extra money.
Mayor Wayne Guppy is leading the charge. He says he will donate his extra dollars to the mayoral fund, a decision replicated by his deputy Peter McCardle.
Night Owls, the voluntary community patrol, will receive a boost from Dave Wheeler, a regular volunteer. Hellen Swales is also a Night Owl volunteer and she is also considering donating to this group or another she is directly involved with, the Hutt Valley Samaritans.
Nick Thomas has gifted his extra funds to the Timberlea Community Group, a decision made in recognition of the valuable work the group has done and continues to do.
The Collision drop-in youth centre, a community initiative based at the Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club, receives the nod from Glenn McArthur who sits on the organisation's management group.
Mary Archibald is planning to spend the money on some "art thing" in the Main St.
"I would hope to be able to do a community-based mosaic somewhere and I'd like to get the public involved in making it," she says. Nellie Gillies says she has yet to make her decision.
"I made a public commitment that I will honour," she says. John Gwilliam says he and his legal company support a number of charities and the extra money received as a councillor will go to one of them rather than the mayoral fund.
Pat Christianson says she has long given a portion of her council income to her church and will continue to do so. Perhaps the most interesting idea is Dean Rabbitt's to donate to the Upper Hutt Smallbore Rifle Club towards the purchase of a left-handed rifle.
Though not a shooter himself, Mr Rabbitt is convener of the shooting team at HIBS, where he teaches.
"When all the city's college teams are practising there can be several left-handers and as the club only has one [left- handed gun] it can make for a very long and arduous school night," the councillor and sympathetic fellow left-hander says.
"They have, however, been unable to find a second-hand rifle to purchase at this time but we remain hopeful of locating one. "If this doesn't work out, my choice would be the SPCA or the Upper Hutt Animal Shelter," Mr Rabbitt says.
- Upper Hutt Leader
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