Melbourne City Council is the top employer with more than 130 senior officers earning at least $130,000 a year, including 18 executives getting $200,000-plus.
The council copped flak earlier this year when it increased CBD on-street parking fees by nearly 40 per cent and introduced a $5 fare for its tourist shuttle bus.
A Herald Sun analysis of 19 metro councils, which have released their annual reports, reveals they have more than 500 staff classed as senior officers earning $130,000-plus salaries.
The revelation comes just weeks after a major State Government survey found that more than 90 per cent of Victorians believed their councils could improve, with low scores given for management of roads, population growth and planning policy.
In 2012-13, the City of Melbourne spent $21.3 million on senior officer salaries, with CEO Kathy Alexander the state’s highest-paid municipal executive on a package of about $440,000.
Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said that too much of councils’ rates revenue went into administration.
“We have far too many people employed by councils but not many workers,” he said.
“There are too many officers whose big salaries can’t be justified.”
Dr Alexander said that Melbourne was a major council with a budget of $450 million and more than 1200 staff, including senior roles like divisional directors, branch managers and senior project staff.
“The national and international accolades the City of Melbourne has this year received in areas such as city safety, sustainability and climate change adaptation are an indication of the leadership, significant professional and technical expertise and experience of our staff,” she said.
Dr Alexander said the number of senior officers had increased by 19 since last year but this was existing staff who had moved into a higher pay scale after an EBA wage rise.
“The figures quoted in the annual report relate to a total employment package that includes salary, superannuation, vehicles and leave loading,” she said.
Among other councils, outer south-eastern Casey had 31 officers earning $130,000-plus, including five getting more than $200,000.
Boroondara had 27 staff in the senior officer category, with four people getting at least $200,000, while Port Phillip, Greater Dandenong and Knox had 25 staff on the senior salary package.
Of the councils surveyed, Nillumbik had the least senior officers, with six, including two on $200,000-plus packages.