Wage costs were lower because of unfilled vacancies

Gosford's Council Chambers.

The State Government’s Fit For The Future program might have meant that councils, including Central Coast Council, tried to improve their positions to meet the criteria set out in the program.

It was rolled out by the State Government in 2014 to modernise councils.

Council’s Acting CEO, Rik Hart, said both the former Gosford and Wyong Councils might have allowed staff vacancies to remain unfilled in the lead up to amalgamation.

“This meant the cost of wages dropped $29M in the lead up to amalgamation when it normally goes up about three percent per year,” Hart said.

The combined cost of wages from the two former councils dropped to $135M in May 2016, at the time of amalgamation, from an average of $165M in the years before.

While the published staff numbers represented the structure, the actual number of employed staff was less.

“When I talked to outdoor staff they said yes, we had vacancies that were not filled,” Hart said.

Merilyn Vale