THE days of Bayswater councillors being farewelled with a ratepayer-funded cocktail bash and $1000 could soon be over.
Bayswater Residents’ Association president Tony Green tabled a motion at last week’s AGM of electors for the tradition to end.
The motion will go before council in January.
Mr Green says the largesse is no longer relevant given the salaries and allowances tribunal board dramatically increased allowances, fees and expenses awarded to councillors in June.
Bayswater councillors can each claim up to $33,000 a year and the mayor up to $136,000.
“Now that elected members get paid a living wage, with the mayor receiving a higher wage than our local state MP, there is no need for them to receive this extra payment when they leave council,” Mr Green says.
“And why do ratepayers need to pay for a cocktail do for councillors when they leave? It’s ridiculous.
“This policy is left over from the days when elected members were not paid at all, and in that environment it made some sense. In today’s environment it most certainly does not.”
Departing Bayswater councillors receive $100 for each year of service—capped at $1000—and may opt for an “informal cocktail function” to be held in their honour.
Deputy mayor Mike Sabatino refuses to say if he thinks the gifts are still appropriate.
“A cocktail function is optional and the gift certificate is provided in accordance with the council policy,” he says.
Cr Stephanie Coates, elected in October, says the gifts should be reviewed.
“I think for new councillors going forward it would be good to review the system, given the update by the salaries tribunal,” she says. “But it’s nice to recognise councillors who have been there for 20-odd years and didn’t get the benefits we get now. To not recognise them would be a bit harsh.”
by STEPHEN POLLOCK