IRC orders Hurst 'apology' published - depaNews December 2010


IRC orders Wagga Wagga to publish Hurst "apology"

We have spent a lot of time in the Commission this year with Deputy President Grayson trying to settle issues that arose from a complaint made by local developer Peter Hurst. We started running details of this dispute in the August issue and have provided links to a number of recommendations and statements made by the Commission.

In short, we now have a new template for how aggrieved employees in local government can deal with members of the community/developers/nutters/whatever, making unsupportable, untrue and baseless allegations. We look forward to applying that template to others next year.

In this dispute Peter Hurst advised the Council through his solicitors that he was prepared to apologise to employees concerned when his allegations were all dismissed after a comprehensive investigation conducted by the Council’s Internal Auditor. Then, he changed his mind.

But before he changed his mind, we had drafted the apology we thought appropriate, it was endorsed by a meeting of our members at Wagga Wagga, the Industrial Relations Commission thought it reasonable and the General Manager agreed that it was appropriate. The General Manager wrote to Mr Hurst and asked that he agree.

Sadly he wouldn't but we still believe the apology appropriate, the Council agreed that they needed to protect the reputation of their employees to ensure that a well-publicised and widely-distributed complaint was baseless and had been dismissed, and Deputy President Grayson on 16 December ordered that the Council publish by paid advertisement in the Daily Advertiser a brief introduction and the apology sought.

The Commission's order means that the Council has 28 days in which to have the advertisement published.

As those of you who regularly receive development applications from small developers (in both senses) no one would be surprised that he called upon the developer's prerogative to change their mind.

We will publish the content of the advertisement next year. We don't want to spoil the surprise when it hits the deck in the Daily Advertiser.

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