Enough is enough says Mayor

Mayor Jenny Rowan has urged two of her political opponents to “stick to the facts” over Council vehicles and salaries.

“Both Mr Turver and his political colleague Mike Cardiff have been running a campaign deliberately aimed at undermining Council staff, staff who have no right of reply. Enough is enough,” she said.

“As candidates, they need to remember they are standing for governance, not management positions. It is time they both stuck to the facts and stopped twisting figures to suit their own political agenda.

“Council’s Chief Executive Pat Dougherty has made it perfectly clear that Council staff have access to only 95 vehicles. Of these, 33 are cars; the rest are service vehicles such as trucks, tractors, vans and utilities.

“Despite this, Mr Cardiff continues to talk about 106 vehicles and implies that all of these are being taken home by staff at night. This is obviously not the case, said Mayor Rowan.

“When Mr Cardiff was a Council employee, a large number of staff did take vehicles home, but under this Council and Chief Executive, that practice has stopped.

“Let me make it very clear. There is now a new deal. Twenty-seven staff take vehicles homes, and they pay for the privilege. As they leave, this practice will stop altogether.

“Under this Council, we have also extended the replacement age of vehicles. This, combined with the other actions, will save Council (and in turn ratepayers) between $150,000 and $200,000 a year.

“Mr Cardiff has first hand knowledge of the old vehicle policy. He now needs to get up to speed on the efficiency changes we have introduced.

“Mr Turver, on the other hand, says Council staff numbers have jumped by 100. Then, when his figures didn’t stack up, he said staff costs had risen by $3.7 million.

“The situation is this. Staff numbers have risen by 11 over the past three years, while salaries have risen from $14 million (July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008) to $16.5 million this financial year.

“On most peoples’ reckoning, that is a $2.5 million increase over three years. This figure covers market movements and also the cost of the new salaries.

Ms Rowan says Mr Turver and Mr Cardiff should stop attacking those people who can’t fight back. “By all means, let us have a debate, but please gentlemen, let’s stick to facts,” she said.