Sunday 22 December 2013

Clarence Valley Council asked to explain its latest legal débâcle

In mid-November 2013 Clarence Valley Council General Manager Scott Greensill contacted The Daily Examiner to complain about a letter to the editor written by one John Catesby.

Heaven knows what he had to say about Mr. Catesby's latest letter (below) published on Page 8 of The Daily Examiner on 17 December 2013.

A letter  which had many Lower Clarence residents laughing into their morning coffees - because try as he might the general manager just can't silence debate on this issue and his attempts to control information to date have only resulted in an unleashing off the Streisand Effect.

Questions remain
The article in DEX (Wed 4.12.13) concerning the adjournment of the NSW Industrial Commission hearing of the unfair dismissal application by council's senior ranger against Clarence Valley Council is alarming.
Having dismissed the ranger more than 12 months ago; having engaged in protracted and no doubt very expensive legal process; and having subjected the ranger to what must have been enormous stress, humiliation, and embarrassment, Council has now decided to enter into "negotiations behind closed doors" rather than expose the findings of the Commission to the public.
As your editorial quite rightly suggests, the man's conduct and personal integrity remain in question. Worse, Council's actions could easily be interpreted as malicious, vindictive or incompetent. This is simply not acceptable. Justice has not been seen to be done.
Has this been an act of magnanimity by Council? Has it been an acknowledgment that perhaps the offence was not deserving of dismissal? Or is this an attempt to hide an incident created by a culture of threats and intimidation that has seriously backfired because one man had the courage to speak out?
There are just too many unanswered questions. Why did Council allow this to drag on for 12 months if this outcome appears now to have been not only possible but highly likely? Where did Council get its advice to dismiss the Ranger in the first instance and on what grounds? Who are the people in Council with the expertise in these areas and just what is this "expertise", because from where I stand it doesn't appear to be all that flash.
What is going on in this Council and, in particular, in Council's Industrial Relations and Legal Department? We ratepayers are entitled to the answers.
John Catesby

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