PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Channel 9 investigated controversial payouts made to top Volusia County leaders Wednesday.
Channel 9's Lori Brown asked city leaders what they plan to do so it never happens again.
In Port Orange, a dozen employees received payouts of more than $10,000 just in the last seven months.
"It's just a mess trying to resolve the issues," Port Orange Mayor Allen Green said.
When the embattled city manager stepped down amid a water billing fiasco, he received a $67,000 check -- enough to pay the salaries of three starting firefighters for a year.
City Council member Bob Ford said the payouts are costing the city more than $400,000 a year.
"Clearly, the people who, in the end, get the most money are the high-level public officials," Ford said.
Ford said the council wants to give employees a raise this year.
"With all of these buybacks and payouts, I don't see how we're going to be able to afford a raise," Ford said.
The payouts are for unused vacation and sick time the employees are allowed to accumulate year after year.
It is a common practice in the government sector but one most private businesses did away with long ago.
When the police chief retires, he could receive a payout of up to $90,000.
The City Council discussed the payouts Tuesday night but couldn't come up with a solution.
"We're just as far apart as we were before we met," Green said.
Read through the payouts Channel 9 uncovered at wftv.com/weblinks.
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