For almost a year, there’s been argument over how much bonuses Knysna’s senior managers (directors) should receive. Bonuses are paid one year after the previous financial year so the figures here are from 2 years ago, the 2014/2015 budget. This obviously affects the 2015/2016 bonuses which are to be budgeted for this coming July.
Last year, i stated that if the managers got their way, there’d be a loss of R220,000 to the public. Either i got it wrong or the Knysna Municipality has changed a theory of error into hard recalculation. The Municipality wants to pay R276,689 whereas the managers want R870,805.
SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING
A Special Council Meeting was called for 8am this morning, to decide whether the the public should pay that extra amount of R594,000. Considering that the next bonus is almost due, at stake is roughly double that, R1.2-million.
Note that in the breakdown below, some were only acting directors for a short period or, in the case of Municipal Lauren Waring, she quit 5 months into the financial year. Their total current package amount would be higher, possibly 12% more. The exception would be Easton who changed positions from Chief Financial Officer to Municipal Manager which meant a reduction in salary (Directors Adonis and Rhode signed higher paying contracts before a relevant law changed).
ARE THE BONUSES LEGAL?
Johnny Douglas has been the Acting Municipal Manager the past 3 months. His permanent appointment is allegedly supported by Mayor Eleonore Spies and his friend, Speaker Georlene Wolmarans. They would never admit that because that would be illegal. Nevertheless, alone, it’s worrying that Douglas supports his managers being paid the highest price “for the sake of administrative justice and stability, morale boosting, fairness, motivation and improving service delivery.”
Does that mean if the managers aren’t illegally paid 400% more, they will no longer fulfill their jobs which, primarily, means service delivery? If so, should they be employees for the public?
DA Councillor Ray Barrell, the greatest supporter of better supply chain management, initially stood against the illegal bonuses. After the DA chose to exclude him from the elections, his faction comrade, Deputy Mayor Peter Myers, became the lead in the charge against payment. That’s notable because, again, Myers (not Spies) is acting like a Mayor.
The Knysna Municipality contracted De Swardt Vogel Myambo Attorneys legal advice. The lawyers were of the opinion that the contracts of the managers/directors was illegal as they were in contravention of the law. The DA used their majority to take their advice, opting for discussions with each person involved. if that fails, the matter goes to High Court.
This should not be a negotiation i.e. a monetary comprise reached so as to avoid Court. The Knysna Municipality, which works for the public, cannot be held hostage by a few. Spending money on Court would be money well used.
THE BIGGER STORY
The bigger questions are not being discussed!
- Why did Ignite Advisory Services, the service provider, negotiate these unfair conditions? Is it true that they are similarly involved in many DA municipalities in he Western Cape? (the DA has refused me information on Ignite being booted as the winning service provider to choose the latest Director Planning & Development and the Chief Financial Officer).
- How were all the managers/directors given positive performance reviews (which increases their bonuses) when some have been involved in scandal e.g. Grant Easton’s disciplinary charges and Dawie Adonis’ lack of qualifications to hold his position.
- Why did COPE Councillor Elrick van Aswegen abstain from voting when in 2016 he wanted to know: “Did those people perform to such an extent that Knysna Municipality is in a better place?” Then, his obvious implication was that they weren’t worth the bonuses.
- Why did the ANC vote to pay the higher bonuses?
I’ve tried to make a complicated situation simple but hoping that local accountants will verify my conclusions by reading the 131-page Special Council Meeting agenda.