Board declines to confirm payment to former director

WILMA MCCORKINDALE IN DUNEDIN
Last updated 15:00 07/11/2012

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More than $699,000 leaving pay to former Otago Museum director Shimrath Paul came out of museum investments.

Otago Museum Trust Board declined to confirm what it paid Mr Paul on his September departure, after a DScene Local Government Information and Meetings Act request filed soon after he left.

Informed sources tell the newspaper it is between $699,000 and $700,000 and comprised mainly sabbatical leave.

Chairman Graham Crombie said Paul's final pay was budgeted for under staffing costs in museum reserves.

The funds were paid out of  museum investments, surplus funds that were put to use for a variety of purposes.

No aspect of the museum was disadvantaged by the payout, Crombie emphasised.

The board's balance sheet in last year's museum annual plan under employee entitlements, shows sabbatical leave budgeted at $518,841.

The controversially highly paid Paul announced his resignation in September and left two weeks later.

He was appointed director of the institution, one of four statutory museums in the country, in 1995.

A D Scene investigation revealed high turnover in museum personnel, allegations of fractious relationships with staff, and the embarrassment of the discovery that for 12 years in its annual report the museum had claimed Mr Paul had a qualification he did not actually have.

An appeal to the Ombudsman saw the museum reluctantly reveal Paul's salary was  $310,793 - more than the highest-paid staff member at national museum Te Papa.

The new applicant is unlikely to be paid that much.

Mr Crombie said conditions for Mr Paul's replacement would be renegotiated.

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