City Bureaucrats paid bonus for fixing their own mistakes

The Herald Sun is reporting that the City of Melbourne has paid over $170,000 bonus payments to the top five – this payment is on top of the lurks and perks that the City Council bureaucrats claim on a regular basis. Free car parking, petrol, use of executive cars, free booze and overseas trips. These are the same bureaucrats that caused the blow out in council expenditure and now they are been paid a bonus for fixing their mistakes. The truth is that the Council pays out this “optional” bonus payment without any real assessment of valuation of merit. The bonus was paid to Council staff who oversaw the corrupt management practices and budget blow outs. Even if they get it wrong they still get the full bonus payments. It is designer job in the city Council.

We also understand that the City Council employed former City Councillor, Kate Redwood at the recommendation and request of Catherine NG. Questions are being asked as to the legality of the employment contract and the possibility that Ms Redwood may have to repay the City Council the money she has been paid in compensation. Under the terms of the Local Government Act a City Council is not allowed to employ directly or indirectly a former city Councillor within two years of them ceasing to be a councillor. We understand that the Ombudsman and Auditor General Department has been asked to investigate the employment contract and to review the Council’s appointment of Ms Redwood. If it turns out that the council has in fact acted illegally then those responsible should be held accountable, Catherine NG may have compromised the City Council in what is seen as a possible sweet heart illegal contract.

Council razor gang reaps reward
Ian Royall January 23, 2008 12:00am

FIVE Melbourne City Council bureaucrats who oversaw job losses and budget cuts last year have shared annual bonuses of more than $170,000.

The Herald Sun can reveal five department directors pocketed an average $34,000 each on top of their annual salary package of up to $272,000.

It angered unions and prompted calls for Lord Mayor John So to act.

It comes after dozens of executives at Town Hall received a 4.3 per cent pay rise three months ago.

Former chief executive David Pitchford won a $46,800 golden handshake when he left last month for a job in Dubai.

Documents seen by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information laws show the directors received $170,757 in so-called “at-risk performance component”.

Each director can get up to 20 per cent of their salary in an annual bonus.

How much each one received was kept secret.

The five to accept the bonuses were sustainability and regulatory services director Geoff Lawler, design head Rob Adams, finance director Scott Chapman, corporate services boss Martin Cutter and community and culture director Linda Weatherson.

Mr Lawler is also acting chief executive until Mr Pitchford is replaced.

Cr So said the chief executive had responsibility for the payments.

“The chief executive determines annual director performance bonuses in strict accordance with their employment contracts,” he said.

But Cr Peter Clarke has accused Cr So of “simply letting the managers please themselves”.

“I could well understand why people are unhappy at being sacked at the same time as people are getting paid extra for doing the sacking,” Cr Clarke said.

Mr Lawler said directors’ bonuses were considered “at risk”.

“They are not guaranteed, and are carefully weighted against performance on an annual basis by the chief executive,” he said.

Mr Pitchford approved the bonuses in November just weeks before he left.

Last year, more than 100 staff left the council and budgets were slashed.

Australian Services Union state branch secretary Brian Parkinson said: “Staff morale in the organisation is not good and this highlights how the upper echelons are just looking after themselves.”

Mr Parkinson said the $170,000, equal to the salary of three or four workers, could have been used on services such as child care that had been cut in the past 12 months.

Former lord mayor Kevin Chamberlin said the rewards were ludicrous.

“Hard-working staff have had their lives destroyed, yet the directors get these pay bonuses,” Mr Chamberlin said.

“The standard of governance is at an all-time low.

“How can the directors get this money when the municipality essentially went backwards?”