Checks cut to former Port Orange officials cost $400K a year

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PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Channel 9 investigated controversial payouts made to top Volusia County leaders Wednesday.

Documents show three administrators walked off with some big checks when they left their jobs, even though they were responsible for mistakes that cost Port Orange about $2 billion.

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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