MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has refused to confirm the remuneration of council CEO Carl Cowie and four executives who report directly to the shire’s highest-paid employee.
The shire’s reluctance to reveal exactly how much executive pay and perks cost ratepayers at the highest level of council comes amid enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations with council staff.
Employees are being offered a 6.8 per cent pay rise over three years as part of a proposed pay deal.
Permanent staff have also been offered a $1000 “incentive” payment to accept the new EBA, with reduced redundancy and sick leave provisions according to the Australian Services Union, that could cost ratepayers about $1 million (“Unfair, underhanded’ $1000 offer”, The News 13/2/17).
Casual staff have been offered $300 each, according to the union.
When asked for details of Mr Cowie’s remuneration, any additional allowances and a pay rise resulting from the latest performance review conducted by councillors, shire communications manager Mark Kestigian referred to information publicly available.
“This information is updated yearly in the annual report and is available from the shire’s website,” he said in a statement.
The annual report lists income ranges, not specific salary figures, for council’s top executives.
The report states council’s highest-paid employee was paid $310,000-$319,999, excluding retirement benefits, for the 12 months to June 2016.
The News can reveal Mr Cowie’s remuneration, including superannuation, was increased to about $395,000 late last year.
The CEO was also given an allowance of up to $30,000 for a study tour to be linked to council business.
The organisation chart in council’s annual report shows chief financial officer Matt Green, governance manager Joe Spiteri, chief operating officer Alison Leighton and media communications and events manager Mark Kestigian report directly to the CEO.
Mr Kestigian did not respond to further questions asking for more information than that provided in council’s annual report or a request to match the relevant job titles with the income band figures in the latest report.
The annual report lists one senior officer receives $260,000-$269,999 a year excluding superannuation. Two others are paid $200,000-$209,999 and a fourth receives $190,000-$199,999.
Neighbouring Frankston Council also referred The News to its latest annual report when asked about CEO Dennis Hovenden and executives’ pay.
Frankston’s annual report shows Mr Hovenden was paid $330,000-$339,999, excluding superannuation, in the 2015-16 financial year.
Kingston Council said CEO John Nevins’ total annual remuneration is $376,511.66, adding that he had opted to buy one weeks’ extra leave in an offer available to all full-time staff.
“Kingston Council sets its senior officer salaries based on benchmarking against other metropolitan councils,” Kingston mayor Cr David Eden said.
“The CEO oversees an organisation of 1400 staff members, an annual operating budget of $200 million and assets valued at $2.2 billion and brings years of experience in the sector to the role.”
In October 2014 Mornington Peninsula and Frankston councils voted at a meeting of state councils to have the Municipal Association of Victoria — the body representing councils statewide — list more information about MAV executives’ pay in the association’s annual reports.
The two councils backed a motion for the MAV to list executive contract start and end dates and total remuneration paid including any external appointments approved by the MAV board.
The motion to disclose contractual arrangements for key MAV management personnel was lost.