Overpaid principal ordered to repay more than $20,000

Former principal was 'mistakenly paid twice' after he left the school

Overpaid principal ordered to repay more than $20,000

The former principal of a New Zealand primary school has been ordered to pay back more than $20,000 worth of overpayments made to him in 2023.

Christopher McLeod was overpaid by $21,020 after he was mistakenly paid twice last year as part of a settlement when he left Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Ngāti Rangi (Te Kura) in January.

The overpayment was discovered in March by Elijah Pue, the chair of Te Kura's Board, and requested McLeod to return the overpaid money.

McLeod initially barely responded to requests for repayment until July 2023, where he admitted he owed the money and said he was willing to pay $100 a fortnight starting August.

No payments, however, were made and McLeod has not responded since, according to Pue, who raised the matter to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

Principal overpaid

The ERA said in its decision that it was "satisfied" that McLeod was overpaid the amount of $21,020.

"The overpayment was made as the result of a simple mistake, which is one of the qualifying factors activating a claim of unjust enrichment and gives rise to the right to restitution," the ERA said.

The ERA also noted that the overpayment resulted to "corresponding deprivation" to the organisation.

"The amount of the overpayment made to Mr. McLeod represents 14% of the operating funds for the year, which is a significant amount and has resulted in a corresponding deprivation to the school."

The ERA also ordered McLeod to pay additional $1,532.48 in interest, as well as costs of $3,375.

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