Kaipara chief's $240k golden handshake

By Mike Barrington -
Kaipara District Council's former CEO Jack McKerchar (right), seen here with John Burt, acting chief executive in November 2011. Photo / Northern Advocate
Kaipara District Council's former CEO Jack McKerchar (right), seen here with John Burt, acting chief executive in November 2011. Photo / Northern Advocate

Former Kaipara District Council chief executive Jack McKerchar received severance payments totalling $240,000 when he quit.

McKerchar, 61, was CEO when the council illegally struck rates and was also at the helm in the lead-up to an $80 million-plus debt blowout.

He gave health as the reason for leaving his job, which he had held for more than 18 years.

Details of his severance package were released to the Northern Advocate this week after a battle for the information through the Ombudsman's office.

Yesterday, McKerchar declined to comment on his contribution to the KDC's poor financial situation, which has led to a commissioner being appointed. He did not rule out talking in the future.

Leaving the council was the best decision he had ever made, he said.

"I'd stopped having fun. I now have my life back."

A Northern Advocate request in February for details of his severance payment was declined by the council, despite it having to put the information in its 2011/12 annual report when it is published.

At that time, the council noted it was required to disclose the information in its annual report, but said it needed to protect personal information it may hold about an employee and the need to manage its employee relationships in confidence.

The Advocate had cited public interest in the ratepayer-funded position as a reason for disclosure.

The Advocate asked the Ombudsman to review the council decision and the payments to McKerchar were released by the council this week.

Retired lawyer and Mangawhai ratepayer Clive Boonham said yesterday that many ratepayers in his area considered McKerchar had a key responsibility for the council's major financial problems.

Boonham hoped commissioners who took over the council governance next month would investigate council finances to find out what went wrong.

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