Ex-chief against deal disclosure

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Former Kaipara District Council chief executive officer Jack McKerchar has threatened to file an injunction to block the public release of the deal he made with the council when he quit his job in August last year.

Mr McKerchar was chief executive when the council illegally struck rates and was also at the helm in the lead-up to an $80 million-plus debt blowout.

Despite resigning for health reasons, he received severance payments totalling $240,000. The council has refused to disclose the reason for the payments.

But commissioners now running the district have said keeping details of the severance package under wraps is hindering their ability to govern.

As a result, chief executive Steve Ruru is reconsidering the issue. He wanted to make a decision about releasing the severance package details before Christmas, but on Wednesday Mr McKerchar's lawyers told him they intended applying for an injunction to keep the details confidential.

A council media release last week said if an injunction was filed, the Employment Relations Authority would hear the application in the New Year.

The Kaipara commissioners' chairman, John Robertson, said earlier that commissioners were aware many in the community believed the deed of settlement covering Mr McKerchar's departure should be released.

"Unless the facts about the issues are laid bare for all to see, we [the commissioners] will be hindered in our ability to fully engage with the community. That is a serious impediment to our ability to do our jobs," he said.

By law, the decision on whether to release the deed of settlement must be made by the chief executive.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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