NEWS that retiring city manager Tom Mackey is to receive a €310,000 pension payoff has provoked mixed reactions among city councillors.
Mr Mackey’s nine-year term finished last week and he is now in line to claim a gross lump sum of €311,488 as a pension payoff.
This includes a payoff of one and half times his salary, totalling €220,266, plus a special severance gratuity of €91,255 - the highest amount ever received by a retiring city manager. The net amount totals €271,466.
The terms of his exit deal are only given to current county and city managers and secretary generals and were in place before a government decision to end such perks. Mr Mackey’s annual pension payout will be €73,422 per annum.
While Mr Mackey was unavailable for comment, officials in Limerick City Council confirmed the figures to the Limerick Leader. Mr Mackey’s successor, Kieran Lehane stated: “It is very simple, Mr Mackey or any person retiring from any post in the public service receives what they are entitled to”.
City councillors across the political divide reacted differently, with some labelling the payments as “obscene” and others claiming the Waterford native simply got what he was entitled to.
Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan said the payments were “obscene”.
“I just think it is obscene in this present climate that anyone is getting a severance payment of that much,” he said.
“The country is on its knees, people can’t pay their bills. I think his salary should have been capped at €100,000, as should all public servants. In this climate it is just way too much money.”
Fine Gael councillor Diarmuid Scully said that he was sure Mr Mackey was “getting exactly what he is entitled to under the Croke Park agreement, it is as simple as that, I doubt he is getting a penny more or a penny less than that”.
Independent councillor John Gilligan said the terms of Mr Mackey’s payout was “a deal that was worked out, not with Tom Mackey, but with the government and it was a one off”.
“He did a huge job in Limerick and I would much prefer to see a large amount of money paid to a person who did a very good job, rather than give it to some civil servant who spent time marking time behind a desk in some obscure building in Dublin,” he added.
Labour councillor Joe Leddin also praised Mr Mackey’s tenure, but said that the figures of his pension payoff “certainly are excessive, there is no two ways about it, you couldn’t defend them”.