Questions are being asked about why a TasPorts executive was paid a performance bonus, then terminated then rehired as a consultant to help the business in its legal fight connected to the sinking of two tugs. In GBE hearings in Hobart last week, Labor's Shane Broad asked TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald about the sequence of events involving former chief operations officer Stephen Casey. "Your annual report shows that your former COO Stephen Casey was paid a performance bonus of $31,642 and then was terminated. How do you explain that?" Dr Broad asked. Mr Donald said the annual report referred to payments made in the prior financial year. "Certainly, his performance was excellent," Mr Donald said. He was then asked why such such a stand-out employee was terminated. "There are two different things there," he said. "One, the incentive payment that was made as referenced in the annual report was for performance in the prior financial year. My decision about the termination of his employment is completely disconnected from his performance in the prior year." It was then revealed under Dr Broad's questioning that Mr Casey had since been rehired as a consultant by TasPorts. Mr Donald said that consultancy contract was for a "very definitive and short period of time." "Doesn't that not sit together? He is terminated and, I think, according to the RTI that I received that he was terminated and finished up on September 19 and now he has been recently engaged as a consultant. Mr Donald said the committee and the Tasmanian public would be aware of the significant legal cases the business was facing in the Federal Court. "The depth of knowledge that Mr Casey has with regard to those legal cases is very important to TasPorts in taking those cases forward," Mr Donald said. "His consulting contract that has recently been executed in the last few days is for a very small amount of work that will allow us to complete our preparation for those legal cases, some of which includes the devastating actions that occurred in the river at Devonport over 18 months ago when two of our tugs were sunk. "We're talking about tens and tens of millions of dollars that we're seeking to recover through legal process. "I think it would be absolutely the wrong thing for our organisation not to do everything possible to make sure that we recover those funds for the benefit of our organisation and the state of Tasmania." Mr Casey said he was "pleased to be able to assist TasPorts as a consultant." TasPorts was then asked how much it had spent in legal fees. "A figure of $2 million comes to mind, but it could be higher," was the answer.