State slugged $3m for payouts

STATE taxpayers have paid out more than $3 million in major golden handshakes for senior public servants in the past decade.

The biggest single payout was $650,000 for Governor Richard Butler in 2004 after less than a year in office at Government House, marked by controversy. But others have come close.

Two weeks ago it was revealed that former Integrity Commission head Barbara Etter received a $198,000 payout after just one year into a five-year contract, although she had sought $1.8million in damages for claims of bullying and being undermined. Mrs Etter was a former Western Australia police commissioner.

Barbara Etter

Barbara Etter

Earlier this year the incoming Hodgman government paid out infrastructure boss Norm McIlfatrick and economic development head Mark Kelleher with a total of $844,000 ($422,000 each) after they had their five-year contracts renewed just days before former premier Lara Giddings called the March 15 election.

At the time, Ms Giddings knew that the Liberal’s policy was to merge the two departments.

Other payments include:

■In 2009, the former Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts head and chief-of-staff to Jim Bacon, Scott Gadd’s contract was renewed days before the department was abolished. No replacement position was able to be found. Mr Gadd left the public sector with a $400,000 payout.

■In 2010, the former Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources secretary Mark Addis was given a $511,562 payout when David Bartlett became premier. Mr Addis remained on his full head-of-agency salary for almost two years until his payout.

■In 2009, the former chief-of-staff to Premier Paul Lennon, Daniel Leesong, was given a $170,000 payout.

■Former prisons boss Barry Greenberry received a workers’ compensation settlement of $260,000 when he left his post just nine months into a five-year contract. Then Corrections Minister Nick McKim said Mr Greenberry left for ‘‘personal and family reasons’’. Mr Greenberry claimed he was a victim of corruption and mismanagement.

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