Troubled lines company Aurora Energy CEO Grady Cameron to get six-figure exit package

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Aurora Energy boss Grady Cameron’s exit package means he will make nearly $1 million in a year.

Grady Cameron, chief executive of Otago lines company Aurora Energy, will receive a six-figure golden handshake.

The exit package from the council-owned company, which came under fire for its power pole replacement, will take his remuneration for the year to $980,000. 

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull criticised the “excessive” pay-out. “It appears a significant severance payment has been made, which in my view seems excessive for a publicly-owned entity,” he said in a statement.

Cameron was on a $560,000 salary, meaning he was set to receive an extra $420,000 when his contract finished at the end of the year.

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When Cull was made aware of the contractual entitlement, he said he made his views clear to Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) chairman Graham Crombie.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull called the golden handshake "excessive".

HAMISH McNEILLY/STUFF

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull called the golden handshake “excessive”.

“I understand that executive salaries need to be market-based and that, legally, neither I nor the council can interfere in the operations or employment arrangements of the companies.

“However, I have sought and received assurance from Mr Crombie that he has worked with the companies to ensure that the employment terms and conditions for company executives show restraint while also being fair to employees.”

The package was outlined in Aurora Energy’s sister company Delta’s annual report, which was released as part of a Dunedin City Council agenda.

Councillor Lee Vandervis said he raised concerns about Cameron’s salary in 2011. 

He had since been concerned about the company, including deferred maintenance, he said. 

Concerns over the company’s infrastructure maintenance prompted an independent review.

Whistleblower Richard Healey went public after his colleague died in December 2010 after climbing a pole that did not have a red “Do not climb” tag attached.

The power pole fell sideways and he got an electric shock.

Delta had since committed to spending $30 million to replace 2910 neglected poles by December 2017. That includes a fast-track programme to replace all 1181 poles rated 0 by April.

Cameron would remain interim Aurora Energy chief executive until the end of 2017. 

Delta’s 2017 annual report said that move was “to provide continuity during the transition to the new company structure”.

The company has been approached for comment.


 – Stuff

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