Golden handshake for Queenstown council boss?

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Queenstown Lakes District Council’s departing chief executive has fast-tracked her departure – but whether she’ll get a golden handshake is unknown. 

Council chief executive Debra Lawson, who announced she was quitting last week, says in a statement (Tuesday) her last day will be June 30. 

That’s two months before the expiry of her three-year contract supposed to finish in September. 

“I have agreed with the mayor and councillors a final date to enable the recruitment process to get underway,” Lawson says. 

Mayor Vanessa van Uden says the council is grateful to Lawson for having taken the decision to allow council to focus on finding a replacement. 

The statement sheds no light on whether Lawson will get a golden handshake or be paid out for the full length of her contract. 

The final terms of her departure are to remain confidential, the statement says. 

“As is always the case, that information will remain a private contractual matter between the council and the chief executive,” van Uden says. 

Lawson says she feels good about the decision and has no immediate plans other than to enjoy the winter season in Queenstown. 

The council has appointed human resources consultancy Martin Jenkins to undertake recruitment for the position.