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Letter to the editor - Council CEO salaries

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Submitted to the Letters Editor, Herald Sun

Dear Editor,

Re: Council CEO salaries

Councils are complex businesses, requiring strong leadership, management and administrative expertise to deliver more than 100 services to local communities. They also maintain more than $84 billion in community infrastructure including 85 per cent of Victoria’s roads and bridges.

Recruiting high-calibre chief executives is vital to ensure councils are financially stable and running efficiently for their communities.

For their pay, chief executives are responsible for day-to-day operations and annual budgets averaging $184 million and 800 staff in a metropolitan council, and $62 million and 320 staff in a rural municipality.

Chief executives are not elected officials and it is misleading to compare their pay with the salary component of a much larger remuneration package provided to an elected official such as the Premier.

While scrutiny of council chief executive salaries is legitimate, it should be compared with their equivalent at the state level - Departmental secretaries. The remuneration of Departmental secretaries is set by the Premier and all are paid in excess of $400,000.

Councils offer competitive salaries to attract the best quality applicants. They publish the salaries of top executives in annual reports, and are transparent about the costs of employing quality staff to run very complex organisations.

Councils also place their budgets out for consultation for 28 days - the only level of government that does this. Accordingly, transparency in relation to this issue is high.

Yours sincerely,

Cr Mary Lalios

President

Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)