Salary increase for Porirua Council CEO, but still only third highest in the region
All is not equal when it comes to the Wellington region's top council earners.
Porirua City Council's chief executive Wendy Walker has had her salary bumped up from $316,400 to $333,680 after a 5.6 per cent pay increase was approved on Tuesday.
The $17,280 increase, effective immediately, makes Walker the third highest paid council CEO in the region, where a difference of $151,191 separates the top and bottom earners.
Topping the region was Wellington City Council boss Kevin Lavery who pockets $416,000, which includes a $3000 council car park.
Of the five councils, Upper Hutt City Council's CEO Chris Upton came in lowest with a remuneration package of $264,809, car included.
In the job since 2007, Hutt City Council's Tony Stallinger had the second highest pay packet in the region with a salary of $360,939.
Kapiti Coast District Council, which serves a population similar to Porirua's, paid its CEO Pat Dougherty $310,500. Dougherty resigned on Friday to take up a position as head of Nelson Council.
Porirua mayor Mike Tana said he understood ratepayers might find the increase "hard to stomach" but he backed the increase.
"She is a woman and she is Māori. Compared to men in that position she's earning much less."
When asked for comment, Dale Williams, chair of the committee which reviewed Walker's performance, referred to a press release that said council was satisfied with the work Walker was doing for the city.
A Porirua council spokeswoman said all staff reported to the chief executive who was available around the clock to the mayor and councillors.
She was responsible for managing $1.3 billion worth of assets, an annual revenue of $84 million and around 315 fulltime employees.
Walker provided comprehensive support and advice to council on strategic policy, legal and statutory council obligations and issues of governance, she said.
"She oversees the implementation of the Annual and Long-term Plans, and ensures new plans are developed, and all reports are prepared. This includes managing the council's operations from a commercial perspective ensuring cost-effective use of funds."
When it came to remuneration, the council took advice from Strategic Pay, which provided remuneration benchmarking used by most New Zealand councils, the spokeswoman said.
This year the city council signed off in an average 6.4 per cent rates rise but voted against paying workers a living wage.