Departing manager gets $7000 towards legal expenses

Dunedin City Council aquatic services manager Steve Prescott has walked away with a $7000 payment towards his legal costs after resigning earlier this week.

Council infrastructure and services general manager Tony Avery confirmed yesterday Mr Prescott had received the money as a ''contribution'' towards legal fees.

Mr Prescott also received an undisclosed sum for contractual entitlements, in lieu of notice and accrued holidays, but had not received any additional payment, Mr Avery said but would not disclose the entitlement sums, citing privacy.

The payments came as Mr Prescott ended his 17-year council career yesterday, days after his decision to quit - citing health reasons - was announced earlier this week.

Mr Prescott opted to resign after apologising for misleading statements about the private contracts he held to restock vending machines at Moana Pool.

He earned up to $10,000 a year for more than a decade from the contracts, but denied any commercial link to the machines when asked, in official information requests, by members of the media and public.

An investigation by independent auditor Crowe Horwath, made public this week, identified the misleading statements but found the council knew of and had approved Mr Prescott's contracts.

That was despite the report concluding the arrangement appeared to be a conflict of interest, which Mr Avery said on Wednesday was unlikely to be repeated.

The decision to pay part of Mr Prescott's legal bill recognised the contribution made by his lawyer to the report, Mr Avery said.

''That's in recognition that it was helpful that Steve had legal representation for the purposes of the investigation. The investigative report recognised that was beneficial to both sides.

''I'm not sure if it's usual or not. It was a call we made at the time in recognition of the input into that process.''


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