Marryatt takes an $800,000 final walk

CONTROVERSIAL: Tony Marryatt resigned from the council last November after a tumultuous seven-year tenure.
CONTROVERSIAL: Tony Marryatt resigned from the council last November after a tumultuous seven-year tenure.

Former boss Tony Marryatt walked away from his job with an $800,000 payout, including the proceeds of a controversial pay rise he had turned down, a Christchurch City Council report says.

The council's draft 2014 annual report shows Marryatt, who resigned as chief executive in September last year, received a $93,206 "outstanding annual increment" as part of his final pay cheque.

The money comes from the $68,000 pay rise he was awarded in December 2011 but did not take. The hike prompted outrage among residents already dissatisfied with the council's performance and culminated in a public protest in February 2012. Days before the demonstration, Marryatt asked the council to stop paying him the increase.

But the pay rise was never rescinded and appeared as "paid or payable" on the council's books. In October 2012, Marryatt told The Press he would not rule out taking the money.

He could not be reached for comment yesterday. Councillors approached by The Press declined to comment.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she could not comment as the severance agreement between Marryatt and the previous council was confidential. That confidence also prevented the council from saying whether Marryatt asked for the $93,000, accepted an offer to pay it or received it as a matter of course.

"We need to look forward not back," Dalziel said.

"It's imperative that this council focuses on the important issues it faces in order to ensure that the city's rebuild continues without losing any momentum."

The remainder of Marryatt's payout included $269,264 in severance pay - the equivalent of six months' salary - $181,276 for accrued leave, $19,888 superannuation and $8957 in non-cash benefits.

He was also paid $239,530 in regular salary for the period July 1 to November 30 2013 - his last day in office. He was absent for almost the entire time, having been placed on indefinite leave on July 3 over concerns that he withheld information from councillors about the perilous state of the council's consenting processes.

Former councillor Aaron Keown said he was not surprised that Marryatt accepted the pay rise money.

"His terms of not taking it was a performance arrangement between himself and council and when people lie to you and do stuff behind your back then why would you not take it?"

Marryatt had kept around $26,000 in extra salary he received before he requested the hold on payments, saying then he would return it if councillors proved they could "work together collegially" for the good of the city.

Keown was more perturbed by Marryatt's severance payout, which he said the public should have been privy to the details of, and his salary payment for July to November 2013, when he was put on leave.

The Press