Marryatt draws fire for staying away

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 05:00 28/12/2011
Marryatt
THE PRESS
FESTIVE BONUS: Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt has received a $68,000 bonus.

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Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt should have ended his Gold Coast holiday and returned to the city after Friday's earthquakes, a city councillor says.

Mayor Bob Parker left his holiday in Taupo to return to the city, but Marryatt said he was "keeping a watching brief" on the situation and would return if necessary.

Marryatt was the subject of public criticism after the council announced that it had given him a $68,000 pay rise, taking his annual salary to $538,529.

His decision to stay on holiday attracted a mixed response from councillors.

Burwood-Pegasus councillor Glenn Livingstone said Marryatt should have returned to show residents that he was committed to the city.

"I think it would have been good if he had. It would have helped to try to reconnect with the ratepayers."

Livingstone said he understood that Marryatt needed time off, but his presence would have been a "good signal" for ratepayers.

"Everyone's had a big year. We all need a break, but I think he could have come back," he said.

Hagley-Ferrymead councillor Yani Johanson said he did not want to comment on Marryatt's absence as it was an employment matter.

"It's a difficult one. It's up to him really. It's his call."

Johanson said he was a "little bit frustrated" about being unable to get information from staff about the status of council facilities after Friday's aftershocks.

"I'm concerned about what's happening with the assessments, but I know people have had a rough year, so you have to be understanding," he said.

Fendalton-Waimairi councillor Jamie Gough said he "wasn't too fazed" by Marryatt remaining on holiday because Parker was here.

"It was important that Bob did return, but I'm not really too sure what Tony could have done. If it had been more significant, I would have liked to see him come back."

Parker and Marryatt did not respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, residents opposed to Marryatt's pay rise have set up a group on social networking website Facebook.

The group, No Pay Rise For Tony Marryatt, had 246 members by yesterday afternoon.

On the page, the group said protesters would hold another rally at the Hereford St civic offices at noon on February 1.

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