Tuesday, 3 December 2013

General Manager Scott Greensill in court on behalf of Clarence Valley Council

Not for the first time in his local government career Clarence Valley General Manager Scott Greensill is attending court to give evidence. [1] 

As General Manager he was responsible for the dismissal from employment of a council employee of some years standing. This dismissal is being contested.
3rd Dec 2013 1:45 PM:

CLARENCE Valley Council staff are at the Murwillumbah Court today for the NSW Industrial Commission hearing of an unfair dismissal case.
The case has been brought by former council ranger Wayne Smith.
In the courthouse several of Mr Smith's friends and former colleagues have attended to give him support.
The council staff team led by GM Scott Greensill, is at the court.
Our reporter Tim Howard is at the hearing and said that lawyers from both sides are locked in talks with no hint of when the matter might go back into the hearing.
Updates as we get them.
Mr. Greensill, by his own admission in 2011 came to a council with a stable base - something which may not always be able to be said of Clarence Valley Council today.


Later the same day The Daily Examiner reported that: THE unfair dismissal hearing between council ranger Wayne Smith and Clarence Valley Council has been adjourned.
The IRC deputy president Harrison has told the parties to reach an agreement among themselves.
He has vacated tomorrow's hearing date, set down for Byron Bay.
If a settlement cannot be reached the matter will come back before him on a date to be fixed.
Lawyers from sides met through the morning and told the hearing after lunch they were close to a resolution.
Council general manager Scott Greensill would not comment on today's proceedings. 

On 4 December The Daily Examiner went on to report: THE Clarence Valley Council has reached an agreement in an unfair dismissal case brought forward by council ranger Wayne Smith who was dismissed from his job more than a year ago.
The NSW Industrial Commission was set down for Murwillumbah Court yesterday but was adjourned after only a minute and negotiations behind closed doors meant the matter was resolved outside the court.
With the details of the agreement confidential, Mr Smith was advised to not comment on the case as it could endanger the agreement.
His barrister, Michael McCall, said under this agreement he could not say if Mr Smith would return to his job as head ranger....

Clarence Valley Council is now a local laughing stock. 

How it expects to keep residents and ratepayers from finding out whether Mr. Smith has been re-employed or not is beyond my comprehension when it would only take a phone call to Council (with an enquiry only rangers could answer) to elicit this information.

It will always be a mystery to many as to why Council appears to believe that a confidentiality clause would stop both councillors and ratepayers from realising that an out of court settlement (reached on the first day of the court case) indicates by default that Council had been in the wrong with regard to the dismissal.

Further Updates

The Daily Examiner on 5 December 2013 at Page 7:

WHAT is the point of a non-disclosure agreement that withholds information that anyone can find out by keeping their eyes and ears open?
This isn't a rhetorical question.
I'd really would like to know.
On Tuesday there was a NSW Industrial Relations Commission hearing into whether the dismissal of Clarence Valley Council head ranger Wayne Smith was unfair.
It concluded on Murwillum-bah Court House steps with both parties agreeing to a conclusion and signing a deed of non-disclosure of information.
This included not revealing whether the ranger got his job back or not.
It was not because Mr Smith and his legal team did not want the story to get out, they arrived at court with every expectation the case would go ahead and all would be revealed.
However there is a bigger question to be asked about non-disclosure agreements.
Is it fair for an individual or an organisation to call for a non-disclosure agreement when behaviour may need scrutiny?
Non-disclosure is valid, for example, to protect intellectual property, such as when an employee leaves a company.
But how much ratepayers' money was spent on investigations and legal fees without the public being able to judge its validity and effectiveness?
The short answer is that ratepayers and reporters can't tell because none of the information was tested in a hearing and it is unfair to publish information that we can't take reasonable steps to clarify.
But stopping the poor bloke from being able to tell the world whether he had his job back or not was definitely one step too far.


Upriver Bill said...

Wonder if Clarence Valley Council insurance premiums will take a hike after this?

Bertson said...

Who paid the cost of relocating the case to Murwillumbah? Was it to avoid coverage in the local court house? Something really fishy about this.

Thanks to NCV for the opportunity to comment - DEX appears to have lost its "Your Say" button!

clarencegirl said...


From Council's HQ at Grafton is coming a rumour that Clarence Valley Council's GM complained to APN about defamation based on one or all of the four DEX media articles or alternatively threatened defamation action among other possible actions.

Anonymous said...

What a bully!

Anonymous said...

if it is public funds that are being used in this case then surely the public has the right to know the details and cost involved in this case and any other case where public funds are used.