Hamilton City Council has signed off on a pay rise for chief executive Richard Briggs, his first since 2017.

Mr Briggs has been given an increase of just under $16,000 before tax, a much smaller sum than his 2017 pay rise of $60,000.

The increase equates to a less than a 1.75 per cent pay rise for each of the past two years.

Despite having met all performance expectations, the last council did not approve a pay rise for Mr Briggs last August, leaving it for the new council elected in October last year to deal with.

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The last Council also resolved that any pay increase adjustment should commence from July 1, 2019.

Mayor Paula Southgate began the review process prior to Christmas. The process was robust and his remuneration and performance had gone through intense scrutiny, she said.

It included an independent market comparison of the remuneration earned by other council chief executives, as well as a comparison of the remuneration earned for similar sized roles in both the public and private sectors.

"We have an obligation as employers to meet all contractual requirements and that is what we have done. But we also have an obligation to the city to make sure that we are doing what is best for ratepayers," she said.

"Richard is highly competent chief executive and is performing at a very high level on behalf of the city. The remuneration package reflects both the market, Richard's ongoing very strong performance and the challenging responsibilities that he carries. I have appreciated his professionalism throughout this process."

The pay increase was approved by a majority of Councillors at a meeting yesterday.

Mr Briggs has been in the chief executive's job at Hamilton City Council since 2014. His contract, as required by law, will be reviewed in October 2021.

During 2019 election, current councillor Maxine van Oosten said she would not support a further pay rise for the chief executive, but focus on a living wage for all council employees and contractors.

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Councillors met with Living Wage Aotearoa to discuss the matter, with a decision to be made next month.