Coun­cil puts stop to fair work de­bate

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Ben Smith

COCKBURN Coun­cil has opted to not dis­cuss a re­port into the Fair Work Com­mis­sion hear­ing that in­volved their for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive, the mayor and two fel­low coun­cil­lors, not even be­hind closed doors.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the hear­ing was tabled at Cockburn’s Septem­ber coun­cil meet­ing, but the con­fi­den­tial re­port was un­able to be dis­cussed after a mo­tion to move the meet­ing be­hind closed doors failed.

For­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Cain’s anti-bul­ly­ing ap­pli­ca­tion against Mayor Lo­gan Howlett, coun­cil­lors Lee-Anne Smith and Kevin Allen, and in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Down­ing was dis­missed by the FWC in April.

Coun­cil­lor Chon­telle Stone for­mally sug­gested the re­port be dis­cussed be­hind closed doors, which was sec­onded by coun­cil­lor Michael Separovich.

How­ever, when their mo­tion failed to gain enough sup­port, coun­cil­lors promptly found them­selves in the bizarre sit­u­a­tion of

be­ing un­able to dis­cuss the contents of the re­port ei­ther in front of the pub­lic, nor as a con­fi­den­tial item.

Mr Howlett told coun­cil­lors be­cause they voted to not go be­hind closed doors, the mat­ter could not be dis­cussed.

Coun­cil­lors Stone and Separovich both ex­pressed frus­tra­tion they were un­able to ask spe­cific ques­tions re­gard­ing the re­port in front of the pub­lic. At­tempts to then de­fer dis­cus­sion of the re­port to a fol­low-up meet­ing were un­suc­cess­ful.

A rec­om­men­da­tion to sim­ply re­ceive the re­port was passed five votes to four, with coun­cil­lors Stone, Separovich, Phoebe Corke and Cha­monix Terblanche vot­ing against.

When rul­ing on Mr Cain’s ap­pli­ca­tion, the FWC found while Cr Smith had “en­gaged in re­peated un­rea­son­able be­hav­iour to­ward Mr Cain”, it was not sat­is­fied Mr Cain had been bul­lied by Mayor Howlett, Cr Allen or Mr Down­ing.

The same night the ap­pli­ca­tion was dis­missed, the City made the call to part ways with Mr Cain fol­low­ing a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing, with the min­utes from the meet­ing re­veal­ing the vote on a con­fi­den­tial rec­om­men­da­tion was split 5-5 and the mayor’s cast­ing vote proved de­ci­sive.

The City of Cockburn has spent more than $650,000 in le­gal fees with law firm Jack­son McDon­ald since Mr Cain went on spe­cial paid leave amidst al­le­ga­tions of an un­safe work­place in Novem­ber.

While it is un­clear whether all the fees are re­lated to the Cain mat­ter, Jack­son McDon­ald lawyers ad­vised the City as it re­sponded to the al­le­ga­tions and at­tended all six spe­cial coun­cil meet­ings that con­sid­ered con­fi­den­tial staff mat­ters in the wake of Mr Cain’s leave.

Stephen Cain.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.