Marryatt's pay 'a red rag' to city residents

22:50, Jan 05 2012
Pay
 

A call has been made for Christchurch City Council boss Tony Marryatt to resign, and his $68,000 pay rise has been labelled "indecent".

Marryatt's defence this week of his 14.4 per cent pay rise has reignited debate over the issue.

The increase took his pay from $470,400 to $538,529 a year, effective from July 1, 2011.

Marryatt
CCC CEO: Some are calling for Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt to resign, labelling his $68,000 pay rise "indecent".

Marryatt told The Press this week that the rise was a reflection of his performance and the market rate for the job.

The Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network chairman, the Rev Mike Coleman, who represents people challenging Government zoning decisions, said Marryatt should resign.

"It is sheer arrogance. There seems to be no understanding of what people have gone through," he said.

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"He talked about himself and didn't give credence to other people who have been working hard for 18 months.

''They are working hard on average salaries and dealing with liquefaction and loss of power and water. A lot of people I have met have lost their jobs.

"There seems to be no understanding that a big majority of Cantabrians are struggling. The council have really failed to understand the needs of their community.

''It is an appalling decision. This is a red rag to many Christchurch residents.

''He has shown that he is not sensitive to the needs of Christchurch. He needs to resign."

Coleman is organising a protest against the pay rise at the Hereford St civic offices on February 1.

Future Canterbury Network chairman Philip Burdon said the pay rise announcement was "clumsy".

The network is made up of Canterbury business and community leaders.

"It does appear to have been handled in a fairly clumsy fashion. It could have been ... handled more carefully,'' Burdon said.

"It appears it could have been handled in a more empathetic way. 

"I regret that the whole issue wasn't handled with more transparency, which appears to be a criticism that is all too often being made of the way that the council is managing its affairs.

''It is a matter of significant public interest and should have been treated as such, with the appropriate care and tact, which clearly wasn't the case."

Outgoing Christ Church Cathedral dean and council hopeful Peter Beck said the pay rise was "indecent".

Marryatt dismissed Beck's earlier call for him to refuse the pay rise as "political".

"This is nothing to do with politics," Beck said.

"It is an indecent pay rise at a time when he should be stepping up and showing real leadership.

''My hope would be that he would say thanks, but no thanks. However much he might deserve a pay rise, this is not the appropriate time for that."

Cr Barry Corbett, who voted for the pay rise, said the decision was based on Marryatt's strong performance.

"We had a company that provided us with all the information and that is what I judged it on. I thought he did that position well,'' he said.

"He has kept us going. This city has been through a hell of a lot this year and he has managed us very well.

"That is what the market says and he has performed better than all the targets. I didn't take that much notice of the numbers, because I thought that was unfair.

''You go through and see how he has achieved his targets and everything else."

ONLINE READERS SHOW LITTLE SUPPORT FOR BIG INCREASE

Tony Marryatt's defence of his $68,000 pay rise has incurred the wrath of Christchurch residents.

More than 200 responses were posted yesterday after Marryatt's interview with The Press was published on press.co.nz. They were overwhelmingly critical.

Marryatt's pay rise has also triggered responses on Twitter, where the chief executive has his own hashtag.

On Facebook, a No Pay Rise For Tony Marryatt page has drawn hundreds of comments, and a satirical Tony Marryatt Relief Fund page described its mission as "Getting a fair deal for struggling Christchurch Council CEO, Tony Marryatt, who worked nine consecutive weekends and only had his $500,000 salary boosted by a pathetic $68,000".

A selection of reader comments:

"So police, fire, health and other emergency services workers, as well as his own council staff and government agencies, didn't have a weekend off for 9 to 10 weeks after February. How many of them got a 14 per cent pay rise backdated?" – Sac.

"Everybody is working harder now and some people are working the hardest they have every worked as well, but you don't see them getting big fat pay rises. What a disgrace, and those who authorised the pay rise are just as disgraceful." – V.

"Mr Marryatt's decision to take the pay rise, and his subsequent attitude, are a great slap in the face for the people of Christchurch who have had to endure so much. He is irredeemably out of touch." – WarrenL.

"In the context of the suffering and misery of many ordinary people in Christchurch, his salary level is obscene. Working nine weekends in a row does not warrant a yearly salary equivalent to the cost of nearly two houses in the eastern suburbs." – RoyK.

"He has lost the faith of the citizens in Christchurch and we'd be better off without him. Not once has he actually said what his daily work entails to prove just what he earns." – Jennz.

Of the few who supported Marryatt, Cam wrote: "The man has a very responsible position. He has to do the real work while Bob the Jacket does all the PR. However, the real question that needs to be asked is: 'Do I do a better job at $540,000 than I would if I was getting half that?' If the answer is no, then I see a moral duty looming.''

"Sorry, but what he is getting paid is actually a lot lower than many other CEOs in government positions, and certainly more than the CEOs that run our state owned enterprises (all public information). Yes, it seems like a lot, but you've got to remember the extreme amount of responsibility which comes with a position like this, not to mention the loss to personal time." – Gottasayit.

The Press