Wollongong's future lord mayors could have greater powers and be paid the same as state MPs if recommendations from the city's council are adopted by a government panel.
A report from Wollongong City Council general manager David Farmer suggests the NSW Local Government Review Panel consider appointing lord mayors on a full-time basis and increasing their wage, especially in large councils such as Wollongong.
Mr Farmer said where the mayor had been elected by popular vote, it was reasonable for the community to expect they would hold greater powers than an individual councillor, including reviewing the performance of other councillors and code of conduct issues.
"It is also reasonable that if they were leading a large council like Wollongong that they be remunerated on a full-time basis, perhaps at the level of a state MP," Mr Farmer wrote in the report.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery's 2012-13 pay of $74,530 would almost double to $143,033 - the current base wage for state MPs - under such a move.
Cr Bradbery yesterday said he did not believe the role of lord mayor was adequately respected or remunerated, especially when compared to the work done by state and federal representatives.
"The amount of time I spend in this office is equivalent to what state and federal [politicians] put in," he said, estimating he worked between 50 and 60 hours a week.
"It's not designed as a full-time role but [the lord mayoral role] in this city does require you to be on deck for those sorts of hours.
"I don't know how anyone could not think it as a full-time role."
The suggestion is among a raft of ideas and comments contained in the council's response to a discussion paper released by the panel late last year that looks at possible changes to way local government works in NSW.
Mr Farmer also backed the panel's concerns over the current structure of local government, saying there was "no doubt" the area needed to be reformed.
"There is merit in having a smaller number of better rewarded and supported elected representatives directing the council," he said.
The submission also asks the panel to review and further streamline rate-pegging, noting councils across the country are struggling to pay for new, and upgrade existing, infrastructure with the limited income they receive from rates.
"Wollongong City Council supports the further investigation of options outside of property for raising revenue," Mr Farmer wrote.
The council also says it does not support council amalgamations in the region.
The submission will be forwarded to the panel for consideration if councillors support it at next Monday's council meeting.
The state government set up the Local Government Review Panel in March 2012 to overhaul local government structures and finances, and scrutinising future delivery of services.