Thursday, April 18, 2024

Annual staff costs hit $1b for Auckland Council group

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Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown at a mayoral debate in east Auckland in August. Times photo Wayne Martin.

By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter

Funded by New Zealand on Air

The number of big Auckland Council salaries are rising and new mayor Wayne Brown is looking to change that.

The annual staff costs in the 2021/2022 financial year sat at just over $1 billion for council, and its owned or controlled organisations, hitting the 10 digit figure for the first time since amalgamation.

The latest annual report also revealed that 257 staff across council organisations earned over $200,000. In the previous year, the figure sat at 222 and since 2015 the figure has risen by 60 percent from 155.

The number of staff earning over $300,000 is 56, one up from the previous year.

In several public statements Wayne Brown has put a target on the backs of middle managers looking to cut the salary pool of $300,000 by 30 percent which would see over over $5 million cut from salary expenditure.

Brown would need to pass a resolution amongst councillors in order to do so.

Brown’s sway over council staff is limited however, with only one employee directly under him and the Governing Body, chief executive Jim Stabback.

Stabback receives quarterly performance reviews from the Governing Body and in the last term was repeatedly noted as being councillors only employee.

The rest of council’s staff are managed by Stabback himself.

During one of Stabback’s performance reviews in April this year, former mayor Phil Goff challenged the idea that council staff were overpaid.

“Whenever anyone tells me that we have got a bloated and overpaid bureaucracy I say well if it is so bloated and overpaid why is it that we have the attrition rate of our skilled people going to other organisations,” Goff said.

Council reports to benchmark salary levels for employees against the public sector and market rates with 15 salary bands for similar positions.

Stabback was approached for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.

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