The Public Service Association says the salaries of public sector chief executives are increasingly out of step with the wider public service.
The States Services Commission has released figures on chief executive pay which shows a general increase across the board, but in some cases significant pay rises, entitlements and benefits.
(In January, the Dompost reported that: “Kapiti Coast District Council chief executive Pat Dougherty has quietly pocketed a $44,000 pay rise that takes his pay from $241,000 to $285,000.” One staff member the Kapiti Independent spoke to said the rise was more than the officer received as a year’s salary! )
The PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says public sector chief executives do generally earn a lot less than their counterparts in the private sector when you take into account the size of their organisations and their responsibilities.
However he says “it’s still disheartening for public servants to see how much their chief executives are earning and the increases they are getting at a time when the government is pushing its austerity budget, putting the squeeze on the pay and conditions of average workers and asking them to do more with less.”
The States Services Commission says that the average base salary for staff in the public service increased by 3%.
“We would dispute that figure as we know through negotiating with government employers, that workers across the public service are generally getting pay settlements of between 0-2%.”
“There are also significant entitlements and benefits which chief executives receive on top of their base salaries which the wider public service does not. Those extra payments certainly tip the balance even further.”
The PSA believes in some cases there appears to be no rationale for the types of payments and pay rises going to some chief executives.
“Pay increases are generally seen as performance-based and it’s fair to say that in the case of some chief executives, there are some pretty big questions around that which deserve an answer,” says Mr Wags