Pay hike for ECT’s trustees reduced
A requested pay rise for trustees of Eastland Community Trust (ECT) has been trimmed by $33,000 by Gisborne District Council.
Instead of the $283,000 total trustee fees pool requested by the trust, the council has set a new maximum of $250,000.
The figure is $23,000 less than the $273,000 recommended by staff.
The council meeting was chaired by deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz after Mayor Meng Foon, who is a trustee, declared an interest.
A letter from trust chairman Michael Muir said the council had fixed total fees of $196,500 in 2016. The Institute of Directors had indicated fees between $234,000 and $273,000 were appropriate.
In their statement of intent, the trustees had set a budget seeking annual fees of $283,000. Mr Muir said it was the trust’s opinion that an increase of $86,500 was appropriate, given the two-year gap and the shift in the trustees’ responsibilities created by the amalgamation of Activate Tairawhiti and the region’s tourism function, now within ECT.
The trustees also asked to have the fees reviewed annually rather than every two years.
However, the council adopted a formula for fees suggested by Brian Wilson, a former ECT trustee, who said he had looked at the 2016 report from the Institute of Directors (IOD).
The review was being done at the same time the statement of intent was presented to give the council a better idea of what was involved for trustees, he said.
The trust had performed well.
The council had given the trustees’ pool a $10,000 a year increase at that time.
Issues involved in the institute report were benchmarking with other organisations and the level of responsibility. ECT had a high level of responsibility.
The trust was asking for $10,000 more than it sought two years ago, blaming inflation. He was prepared to give them 90 percent of what they were asking. That came to $250,000 when rounded off.
Graeme Thomson said the bottom line was that the council had to be reasonable. There was a good rationale behind Mr Wilson’s recommendation.
There was a degree of civic duty in the job. Everybody who put their hand up were doing it for that reason. This was close to what he was going to recommend himself. He felt the council could justify it.
Amber Dunn said these were trustees who would act in the best interests of their beneficiaries. They were trustees of a trust more than directors of a company.
Pat Seymour supported the figure Mr Wilson had come up with but thought the fees should be reviewed annually, simply to avoid the need for a large increase. That did not mean the council had to increase it but they could review it when they got the statement of intent.
Mr Wilson said he could see no logic behind that. Who else got an income review every year?
Shannon Dowsing supported reviewing every two years. He did not want knee-jerk reaction to their current business position. There needed to be time for extra responsibilities to bed in before making an assessment of how much they were going to influence remuneration.
Larry Foster said remuneration was always the ultimate reward. An annual review would give the trustees more incentive to perform.
The council adopted recommendations to increase the pool to $250,000 and review it every two years.