Documents reveal Edinburgh tram bosses pocketed £800k in bonuses and compensation after Tie scrapped

FORMER tram chiefs were paid around £800,000 after leaving the project, the Evening News can reveal today, as new documents exposed the extent of pay-offs and bonuses at TIE.

Seven top directors received pay-outs understood to be as high as £158,000 after the firm initially tasked with delivering the project was scrapped last October.

The documents showed that £406,635 in compensation was dished out for “loss of office” and hundreds of thousands more is believed to have been added for notice periods bosses were not required to work.

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At least four senior executives also received bonuses at a time when the beleaguered project was lurching from crisis to crisis.

Former chief executive Richard Jeffrey got nearly £200,000 after working just nine weeks of the last financial year before quitting in June 2011. He is believed to have received extra pay in lieu of working a six-month notice period.

The 45-year-old, who had fought attempts to publish the details of his leaving package, received two-thirds of his £150,000 salary and £82,800 for “loss of office”.

Overall, more than £1.3 million was handed out in wages to the top seven directors in 2011-12.

It is estimated that if all senior staff were given six-month notice periods – the city council would not release the contract details of individual directors – then the seven pocketed around £335,000 on top of their “loss of office” compensation, with payments ranging from £36,700 to £79,400.

Project director Steven Bell received £283,900 – more than double the salary of First Minister Alex Salmond – for working between April and October 2011. This included a bonus of £15,100.

Programme director Susan Clark was also given a bonus of £9182 and in total walked away with almost £156,700.

Commercial director Dennis Murray received £5600 in bonuses and more than £154,100 overall, while Frank McFadden, who managed the InfraCo project – which handled elements of the project over which TIE and Bilfinger repeatedly clashed – received £5124 in bonuses and a £203,301 package.

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Chief spin doctor Mandy Haeburn-Little, who was paid more than the First Minister, accepted no pay-off package.

The payments were signed off by Dave Anderson, who was last week suspended as part of the statutory repairs probe.

Details of the pay-offs emerged ahead of next week’s audit committee meeting.

TIE was wound up in October following years of disputes with contractors, delays over work and spiralling costs.

Tram chiefs were also heavily criticised for holding a weekend of mediation talks at Mar Hall, a luxury retreat near Glasgow.

Alastair Maclean, director of the corporate governance department at the council, said that the costs of winding down TIE had been significant but that the newly-revised project was now on track.

He said: “New governance arrangements were put in place and the council brought in professional project management expertise and agreed to wind down TIE Limited, as was reported on August 25, 2011. There was a significant cost in resolving the issues with TIE and putting in place more effective control of the project.”

Lesley Hinds, the city’s new transport leader, added: “I have long called for greater transparency into the tram project and the publication of these figures is a step in the right direction, even if I don’t agree with the amounts.

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“This is an opportunity to draw a line under TIE’s involvement and for us as councillors to ensure that the project is tightly managed and all spending is properly scrutinised.”