Pay review after $700k NSW Police media merry-go-round

A review of NSW senior public servant pay will be launched after it was revealed the dismissal of a string of top media advisors for the nation's largest police force will cost taxpayers more than $700,000.

Premier Chris Minns says the government will look at overhauling the Government Sector Employment Act, particularly provisions covering separation payments for top-level public servants.

NSW Premier Chris Minns
Chris Minns says a review of public servants' severance pay is "appropriate and necessary".

The announcement comes after it was revealed Police Commissioner Karen Webb's decision to part ways with four previous media heads in just two years had led to termination payments of $687,613.

Former Seven Network TV producer Steve Jackson was the latest to be given the boot from the highly-paid role of executive director of public affairs after his appointment was mired in controversy.

Mr Jackson's payout for his weeks-long interim appointment is likely to bring the total cost of the termination payments to more than $700,000.

The $687,613 figure was released in answers to questions from the independent NSW upper-house MP Rod Roberts.

Mr Minns said he understood community concern over the payouts, describing a review of the provisions as "appropriate and necessary".

"These are large amounts of money that have been handed to senior executives for not doing a job," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"I'm concerned with the amount of money that's going out the door at the moment and that's why I've asked for this review."

Its findings will be made public upon completion.

Mr Roberts, a former police officer, said it was an "exorbitant" waste of taxpayer money for the dismissal of three media advisors - excluding Mr Jackson's short-lived stint - "simply because Karen Webb's not happy with them".

"If you go through three you've got to start looking at the common denominator in all this," he told AAP.

Grant Williams, Alex Hodgkinson and Liz Deegan were all axed from the role since Ms Webb's appointment as commissioner in February 2022.

All three were legally entitled to termination payments equal to 38 weeks' pay.

Mr Jackson's appointment came under intense scrutiny partially due to his friendship with Police Minister Yasmin Catley's chief of staff, Ross Neilson.

Ms Webb admitted she had asked Mr Neilson, who once ran the police media unit, for references for the role as she did not have a lot of connections in the industry.

Questions were also asked about Mr Jackson's suitability due to his role in courting Bruce Lehrmann for an exclusive interview with Seven's Spotlight program, which included an attempt to reverse another employee's company credit-card charges for a Thai massage.

Bruce Lehrmann
Mr Jackson was let go after his role in courting Bruce Lehrmann for an interview was revealed.

Previous media chief Liz Deegan was taken off the job after Ms Webb fielded widespread criticism of her public response to the case of Beau Lamarre-Condon, a serving NSW officer accused of murdering two men with his service weapon.

"Most cops join the police to be in the police force, not to be in the media, and so certainly I can do better and I will," the commissioner said in March.

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