John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Creative Tauranga role questioned

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Councillor Gail McIntosh.
Councillor Gail McIntosh.

A proposed salary of $90,000 for the person appointed to lead Creative Tauranga has been dubbed "way over the top" by city councillor Gail McIntosh.

She made the comment yesterday while the council was being updated on the organisation that works with the city's artists and cultural groups.

Ms McIntosh's opposition to a $90,000 salary came after Creative Tauranga trustee Dean Wearne had forecast a modest profit forecast for the current financial year of about $8000, compared with last year's net surplus of $30,000 and 2014's $173,000.

Mr Wearne said it would be a matter of who applied for the job and their skill set.

Creative Tauranga chairman Marcus Wilkins said a key job for the new trustees would be to appoint a leader for the organisation. It might be that the board would start with a general manager's position at a lower salary level.

The job title had not been decided and it could be chief executive, general manager or director.

Councillor Catherine Stewart said employing additional staff rang alarm bells for her and she sought assurances that Creative Tauranga would be financially sustainable. "Maybe in the past we tried to achieve too much."

Mr Wilkins assured her that no one wanted to get into the position of running deficits. "Financial sustainability is fundamental."

Councillor Matt Cowley said Creative Tauranga would be starting from a lower base.

A report showed that 54 per cent of last year's $538,000 operating income came from rates.

Meanwhile, a strategic review has concluded that the organisation should be advocating more strongly for the needs of the city's artists and cultural groups.

The conclusion was part of the "Next Steps" plan on its future direction.

Other key components included establishing a new governance structure, the development of an arts strategy for the Western Bay, and a new funding structure to tap into alternative income streams.

The plan called on Creative Tauranga to play a "stronger advocacy role and to more broadly reflect the needs of the artistic and cultural communities". An appointments panel was due to have finished the recruitment and appointment of an expanded board of trustees by the end of this month. Creative Tauranga moved into smaller premises in the Civic Arcade last November and continued to provide a culture and arts information hub and community gallery space.

The annual report for the Creative Tauranga Charitable Trust to March 31, 2015 showed a net surplus of $30,000. The gross surplus of $506,900 was down $143,500 on the previous year, while total expenses of $411,400 were down $68,540 on 2014.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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