Councillors squabble over pay deal kept behind closed doors
THE TWO heavy hitters in the race for mayor have gone toe to toe for the first time as the campaign heats up.
A recommendation that Acting Mayor Paul Tully and Acting Deputy Mayor Cheryl Bromage receive a higher duties allowance while acting in their roles should have been discussed in an open forum and not behind closed doors, insists Cr Andrew Antoniolli.
Cr Antoniolli, who is running for mayor against Cr Tully and nine other candidates, said there was "a lack of transparency in not having the recommendation aired in an open committee structure".
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The recommendations of the City Management, Finance and Community Engagement Board report of July 18 were adopted and carried at the ordinary meeting of council on July 25.
Cr Antoniolli said that within that report was a recommendation that it be put to the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal that Cr Tully and Cr Bromage receive additional remuneration during the period of time they have been acting in their mayoral and deputy mayoral roles.
In various awards, such as journalism for instance, those taking on higher duties get an increase in their pay while undertaking such duties.
Who will get your vote in the 2017 Ipswich City Council election for mayor?
This poll ended on 18 August 2017.
Cr Paul Tully
Cr Andrew Antoniolli
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"My issue is 'why was it put in the board report?' It should have been in the open agenda, not hidden within a board report within council," Cr Antoniolli said.
"It is like it has been hidden from the community, this request for additional remuneration for the acting mayor and acting deputy mayor.
"There was no discussion on the item in (the general) council meeting.
"It is my position, that if elected mayor, that the only matters that would go to a closed board would be for council budget items only, which is why the board was originally established.
"The reality is that there are too many items being put on that board that should be aired in an open forum."
Cr Tully said Cr Antoniolli was "playing political games" and did not raise the issue before doing so with the QT.
"After 17 years Cr Antoniolli still doesn't understand the basics of meeting procedures," Cr Tully said.
"That board report, which Cr Bromage and I did not vote on, was presented to the City Management, Finance and Community Engagement Committee.
"It was voted on in an open committee. Cr Antoniolli did not raise any issue at the time, nor did he raise any issue when that committee report was presented at the council meeting.
"He is misleading the voters of Ipswich about what transpired. That item was placed on that board agenda by the CEO, not by councillors
"At any time he could have asked for it to be transferred directly to the committee, but he failed to do so. I am disappointed at his attack on the professionalism of the Council CEO Jim Lindsay."
Cr Antoniolli said he also abstained in the voting process at the general council meeting on the item.
"I didn't think it was right because I am part of that (mayoral) election process," he said.
The QT asked Cr Antoniolli if he was saying that Cr Tully and Cr Bromage did not deserve a higher duties allowance:
"I don't think there is any provision in the Act for an acting deputy mayor to receive additional remuneration anyway," he said.
"However we will leave that to the tribunal to decide. It is an independent body and I agree it should be up to the tribunal."
Cr Tully said the independent tribunal in Brisbane had already made the decision to approve the recommendation that himself and Cr Bromage received higher duties payments.
"The acting deputy mayor assumes the full role of the deputy mayor and is entitled to the remuneration approved by the remuneration tribunal," Cr Tully said.
"They have already decided, so (Cr Antoniolli) doesn't understand the Local Government Act.
Cr Antoniolli said there were provisions under the Local Government Act to close meetings for matters that "are protected under the Act".
"But others matters, and recommendations, can still be provided in open forum...and should be," he said.
"I think it is for the people to decide whether those matters should be aired in an open committee forum or whether they should be discussed in a closed board and not divulged to the public at all."
Cr Tully said he thought that Cr Antoniolli would have had "a better and more professional approach to this campaign, and I am extremely disappointed at the desperation tactics Cr Antoniolli is using".
"I am fighting this election under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, not the dog and goanna rules of my opponent," he said.
How much do they get paid?
Deputy mayor: $132,901
Pay differs across councils. Ipswich City Council is a category 6 council