Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Marryatt sticks to his word over pay rise

Tony Marryatt. Photo / Supplied
Tony Marryatt. Photo / Supplied

Controversial Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt has stuck to his word and has not accepted the balance of a $69,000 pay rise after being roundly criticised for accepting it last year.

But he hasn't given back the $26,000 back pay he promised to if councillors started working together better.

The council boss was given a 14.4 per cent pay rise shortly before last Christmas - backdated to July 1, which took his annual salary to $548,921.

The $69,491 pay rise sparked outrage in the traumatised post-disaster city when it was announced.

Mr Marryatt kept the $26,000 backpay he had already received, but as pressure mounted he met Nick Smith, the then-Local Government Minister, and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee, after which it was announced he would turn down the rest of his pay rise.

The draft annual report to go before full council meeting on Thursday shows the "total cost to the council of the remuneration package paid or payable to the council chief executive for the year to 30 June 2012 was $548,921 (2011: $479,430)".

But Mayor Bob Parker today confirmed Mr Marryatt had not been paid the balance of the raise, which remained with the council.

"He's not taking the money, but the books quite correctly show that that was the amount of money attributed to him."

"At the moment it's sitting in the pay clerk's accounts as money that he hasn't taken. Council will have to make a decision at some point presumably about what it wants to do about that situation," Mr Parker said.

In February, around 4000 people protested, calling for Mr Marryatt to resign.

Six of the city's 13 councillors joined the protest, and councillor Tim Carter even asked the Government to sack him.

Mr Marryatt promised he would pay back the $26,000 when city councillors started working together more cohesively.

He then said he would wait until the Crown observer had finished looking into the council at the end of June before making a decision on whether he'd return the amount, and then later said he would wait until further pay talks with the council.

Mr Parker said the matter of the $26,000 was Mr Marryatt's business.

Mr Marryatt was on holiday today and unavailable for comment.

Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network spokesman Brent Cairns said many Christchurch residents would have thought Mr Marryatt had already returned the cash after his comments earlier in the year.

"It is utterly ridiculous. It's all well and good making promises to the media, but they have to be backed up," Mr Cairns said.

"It would be reasonable to expect someone in his position to make promises and keep them."

Mr Marryatt filed a personal grievance claim against the council, his employer, in April.

The legal action, funded by the ratepayer, was settled before it made it to Employment Court but at the end of August it was revealed it was settled out of court and his legal costs were reimbursed by the council.

- Additional reporting Abby Gillies

- APNZ

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