Marryatt pay details vetoed

PAUL GORMAN
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012

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Releasing details of Christchurch City Council boss Tony Marryatt's highly controversial $68,000 pay rise is not in the "public interest", the council's legal team says.

The council has refused an Official Information Act request seeking details of communications around Marryatt's request in late January that he stop being paid the extra salary. It has also rejected releasing correspondence between the chief executive, council employees and councillors on the matter since he made that request.

The salary increase just before Christmas last year sparked outrage among ratepayers and led to a 4000-strong protest outside the civic offices in February.

Only days before the protest Marryatt said he had asked the council to stop paying him the increase "in the spirit of good faith" and promised to return what he had already been paid if elected members started working more "collegially".

Late last month Marryatt told The Press he had not ruled out reclaiming that $68,000. He made it clear then that councillors had not met the levels of collegiality he expected before he would repay what he had already received and said he would discuss the issue at his next pay review.

In a letter to The Press this week refusing its information request, council legal services manager Chris Gilbert said releasing that material was not in the public interest.

"The council considers that communications, correspondence and documentation of the type you have asked for relates to a matter which is personal to Tony Marryatt. Therefore it is necessary to withhold this information to protect the privacy of Tony Marryatt.

"In addition, the council has considered whether or not in the circumstances of this particular case the withholding of that information is outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable, in the public interest, to make that information available. In this case the council does not consider that there are any public interest considerations that outweigh the need to withhold the information requested."

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- The Press

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