'Illegal' Lismore City Council pay cut plan shelved again
A PLAN for Lismore City councillors and staff to take a pay cut has been shelved for another month because of legality issues with the unions
For the second time this year, Councillor Gianpiero Battista tabled his urgent motion at Tuesday's meeting for the council to vote on taking a 10 per cent pay cut until June 30, 2021 on a voluntary basis.
He also proposed the savings be "placed in an account designed to help those ratepayers who find themselves unable to pay their rates during this COVID-19 pandemic".
Staff were also being encouraged to voluntarily reduce their wages by 10 per cent and that money be returned to the general fund.
Cr Battista said it was important the council shows solidarity with ratepayers struggling financially, especially after "a lot of money and projects" were cut from the draft budget last week.
But mayor Isaac Smith did not allow the motion to be discussed on Tuesday after council staff had received legal advice over the proposed motion.
General Manager Shelley Oldham clarified further that "the legal advice and the union response has been provided to Cr Battista stating this was an illegal motion".
Cr Battista said he understood the legalities and had added the word "voluntarily" to his motion to avoid the union concerns.
However, he didn't resubmit the motion in time for Tuesday's meeting and was told to present his proposal again with the new wording ahead of the June meeting for consideration.
Cr Smith also pointed out that "any councillor or staff member can take (a pay cut) without a council action" if they see fit.