The Local Government Engineers’ Association (LGEA) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the review of general manager (GM) remuneration.
We are a registered industrial organisation representing professional engineers and related technical professionals, including those who are employed as general managers and other senior staff, working in local government in NSW. Our parent organisation, Professionals Australia, is a nationally registered industrial organisation of more than 25,000 professionals working in a range of industries throughout Australia.
Our members believe that the imposition of a cap on GM rates of pay will likely result in a significant loss of experienced GMs in local government and will be largely ineffective in resolving alleged community concerns surrounding GM remuneration. According to our survey, an overwhelming majority of members agree that it is very important for GM and senior staff to be able to negotiate their own pay with their councils.
We contend that councils are best placed to determine the remuneration of their GMs based on the scope of work, operational complexity, their strategic plan and the needs of council.
The key factors identified by our members for rejecting the Government’s proposed reforms include:
- Attraction and retention of suitably skilled and talented executive staff.
- Need for remuneration to reflect local (including political and job security) issues
- Compensation for living and working in remote locations
Rather than imposing an artificial cap on GM remuneration, the government should consider the annual collation and publication of aggregated rates of pay for all general managers in NSW. A further recommendation is that the OLG consider establishing a voluntary service that provides support and training to councils on GM recruitment including the negotiation of executive salaries.
We would welcome the opportunity to make further comments on these proposed reforms as the consultation process progresses.