WCC terminations, resignations and payouts

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The resignation or termination of a senior WCC officer has led to a substantial payout. Image: ABC

Analysis – Carol Altmann

When is a termination a resignation or vice versa?

The Warrnambool City Council’s forthcoming financial report for 2015-16 contains an intriguing line, saying the substantial sum of between $390,000 and $399,000 was paid out to a senior officer as a result of a “termination” of their employment.

As far as the public record is concerned, nobody has been terminated from the Warrnambool City Council in the past 12 months, but there has been a number of resignations, including director of city growth Bill Millard, who left last November, and that of former head of infrastructure Peter Robertson.

Mr Robertson left the council in January this year after losing the confidence of several councillors.

According to the council documents, the total payout of between $390,000 and $399,000 was a result of a “contractual payment” that was made in addition to the unnamed senior officer’s normal entitlements.

Given the highest salary for a senior officer (not including the CEO) is between $200,000 and $210,000, this is one heck of a payout and begs the question of where that extra $100,000 has come from? Parking fees and fines? And what has been cut in the budget to accommodate it?

We will probably never know due to confidentiality clauses and a general reluctance by the Warrnambool City Council to reveal the salary arrangements of its public officers. After all, we still don’t know, officially, exactly how much CEO Bruce Anson is paid each year.

In the US, for example, it is widely accepted that if you are paid from the public purse – from the US President down – then you can expect full public scrutiny of your entitlements.

Given ratepayers are the ones footing the bill for the Warrnambool City Council, it should be exactly the same here.

4 thoughts on “WCC terminations, resignations and payouts”

  1. In addition to stuff ups, hasn’t this cost us a sizeable quid! This must be investigated fully! (edited)

  2. A resignation may well incur a substantive payout of leave entitlements inclusive of long service leave and annual leave. Obviously I have no idea what the retiring individual’s salary agreements entailed. They could add up.
    On the matter of transparency of salaries from the public purse, details should absolutely be available as a matter of record and not by request. We are well aware of politician’s pay scales and council pay scales should also be available.

  3. It is beyond belief that so many issues that rightly belong in the public arena remain behind closed doors. I often wonder how we allowed the standard of good governance to drop to what appears to be the bottom of the ocean.
    Let’s elect councillors who are prepared to demand accountability from the CEO.

  4. Not having worked in the public sector for some time (a long, long time in fact) I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of anyone receiving a payout for resigning. Is it common practice these days? I’ve heard of a payout for being retrenched, but surely resigning is a choice of the person not happy to be employed. Why should they be paid any extra for wanting to leave?

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