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Union anger over prison boss exit costs

ABC Tasmania, June 4, Read original article here.


Unions wants the Corrections Minister to take responsibility for “wasting” more than half a million dollars over the early departure of the former prison boss.

Barry Greenberry resigned last month, walking away with a taxpayer-funded payout, just nine months into a five-year contract.

Nick McKim revealed yesterday that Mr Greenberry’s appointment cost more than $550,000 in pay, entitlements and recruitment costs.

Union Secretary Tom Lynch says the minister has not accepted responsibility for the cost to taxpayers.

“[There was] $260,000 as settlement, some $220,000 paid in salary over 12 month period and yesterday we learnt $ 77,000 paid in recruitment costs,” he said.

“So $550,000 for 12 months work, I don’t think that’s acceptable.

“Someone needs to take responsibility for the decisions that were made and I haven’t seen anyone take that responsibility, I think it goes back to the Minister.

“The Minister’s been pretty keen on slating-home accusations against prison officers for abusing sick leave or over time or whatever it is that’s occurring, but I think he needs to take responsibility here for responsibility of waste.”

Mr McKim told an estimates hearing yesterday that the Risdon Prison overtime budget is expected to top more than $4.5 million.

The prison has had annual overtime bills of $5 million dollars for the past two financial years, contributing to budget blowouts, but Mr McKim says that the figure is starting to fall.

Mr Lynch says the union did not fully support the appointment of two top level positions in the prison.

“We were less than convinced at the time that it was right to appoint a director of prisons and a change manager, that seemed like setting up conflict, and I believe that’s really what has panned out here at the end.”

“Everyone needs clarity of roles.

“I think what Tasmanians expect from their politicians is they stand up and say ‘look I made a mistake here, this wasn’t the outcome we were seeking’. It’s been expensive, it’s cost taxpayers’ dollars and I accept responsibility for that’.”

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