DCC staff on $100,000 or higher accept cuts

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Four options ranging from a 0% rates rise to the originally proposed 6.5% rates rise will be up for consideration. Photo: File
More than 50 of the Dunedin City Council’s highest-paid staff are taking pay cuts as it is revealed the council is expecting a nearly $6.5million loss in external revenue next year due to Covid-19.

Next week, councillors will determine the increase in overall rates the council will take next year and the level of borrowing required to make up the shortfall.

Four options ranging from a 0% rates rise to the originally proposed 6.5% rates rise will be up for consideration as the finance department advises for every 1% drop in the rates rise the council will lose another $1.6million in revenue.

A 0% rates rise would require $14million of additional borrowing; a 3.5% rates rise would require $8.5million in increased borrowing; a 4.1% rates rise would require an added $7.5million in borrowing; and the 6.5% status quo increase would require $3.7million in borrowing.

The council finance department has found $4.8million in savings, including a $1.8million in staff costs.

This week, council chief executive Sue Bidrose said the council’s top three tiers of management had all agreed to take voluntary pay cuts of up to 6% for six months to save the council nearly $200,000.

"Every single manager agreed immediately, voluntarily, in order to help."

Most managers took a 2% year-long cut, others took sharper cuts for less time.

The Otago Daily Times asked the council what assurances it had made its staff about job security and whether there was a review of permanent positions that could result in job losses as are reportedly occurring elsewhere in local government.

"We are looking to make savings in salaries by tightly managing vacancies, including deferring recruitment wherever possible. In addition, we have ended a number of fixed-term positions and not renewing where the work is non-essential or may be deferred," Dr Bidrose said.

"It has been our aim to ensure permanent staff retain their positions wherever possible. A number of our staff are still working providing emergency and community response activities, but overwhelmingly staff are now returning to business as usual.

"If councillors elect to cut projects and services then we will have to assess the impact but we would manage that, as we have in the past, through attrition and vacancy management."

The council’s 2018-19 annual report shows 75 council staff earned more than $100,000 a year, 40 topped $120,000, including 12 paid more than $160,000.

No update was available this week, but an update would be made public in the coming 2019-20 annual report.

Before Covid-19, council proposed adding 27.1 full-time equivalent positions to its ranks next year and with salary increases add $4.8million in spending on staff, bringing total forecast spending on staff to $69.8million next year.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Comments

How about all non-essential employees join the WINZ queue? For 2 months we did not use their services. Let Dunedinites vote with their wallets to see if we want the non-core services the DCC provides? The vast majority of (DCC & ORC) rate-payers do not want or need the services provided because of special interest groups' demands. What is the DCC/ORC afraid of? that ratepayers realise we do not need them, quite possibly.

No local governance means administration by central government.

As free as anarchism may seem, it doesn't work because of individual self interest.

What you need to realise that by cutting staff and putting them on the dole it slows the money in the community and we get of a recession.
Has Vandervis taken a pay cut? I doubt it very much. I note that $200k was saved by the manergers taking a pay cut. If Vandervis didnt play his failed 'whistleblower' role another $100k would have been saved as that was Vandervis has cost the DCC for nothing.

What about Hawkins political advisor positions ?
Are they being scrapped ?
The elitist narcissism is unaffordable.

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