By Don Farmer
The wage bill for Masterton District Council staff is now $1.4m more a year than it was when chief executive Pim Borren took over in mid-2014.
There has also been a hefty increase in staff numbers, but Mr Borren says he has legitimate explanations for both the staffing levels and the hike in the wage bill.
In May 2014, the gross payroll was about $221,000 a fortnight. It now stands at $275,000, a variance of $54,000 which, when multiplied by 26 fortnights a year shows an increase of $1,404,000.
That does not include any salary or payments made to the Mayor Lyn Patterson or councillors.
In the same time-frame total staff numbers have risen from 92 to 118.
Those figures include part-time and casual staff which in full-time equivalents equates to 94.5 full time staff now being employed, compared to 73 two-and-a-half years ago.
Twelve staff are earning over $100,000 a year, the highest paid being Mr Borren on $240,000, compared with exactly half that number being in that salary bracket as of June, 2014.
Those earning between $80,000 and $100,000 has jumped from six to 15.
More staff was needed
Mr Borren said of the six extra staff earning over $100,000, only one had been a new appointment by him.
The other five had moved into the higher bracket due to CPI increases which had carried them over the threshold.
As far as overall staff numbers increasing he said the council had been understaffed at the time he had taken up the role of chief executive.
“There were vacancies that had remained unfilled for months which I suppose is understandable when it is known a new chief executive is soon to arrive.
“A couple of areas were significantly understaffed including Parks and Reserves and in the policy area,” Mr Borren said.
A greater emphasis had also been placed on community wellbeing and four extra staff had recently been employed in that area.
Mr Borren said more important to ratepayers than staff increases and wages should be recognition the council had not only lived within its budget but had made savings of $600,000 last year and about $300,000 the previous year.
“We have moved away from employing consultants and have reduced spending on outside contractors.
“I inherited an organisation that pretty well outsourced everything but there is no question we have cut back on using consultants and legal advisors and have brought more activities in-house,” he said.
Mr Borren is the only person employed by the mayor and councillors with all other staff being his responsibility.
Total yearly remuneration by band for staff as at June 2014 and a comparison with this month is as follows:
Up to $60,000 (56 staff ), $60,000 to $79,999 (24 staff),$80,000 to $99,999 (six staff), $100,000 to $219,999 (six staff)
Up to $60,000 (70 staff), $60,000 to $79,999 (21 staff), $80,000 to $99,999 (15 staff), $100,000 to $240,000 (12 staff, of which six are being paid over $120,000 a year.)