‘Gang of Four’ not li­able

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

THE “gang of four” Dou­glas shire coun­cil­lors have been dis­charged of any le­gal li­a­bil­ity in the un­fair dis­missal case of for­mer man­ager David Carey.

Mr Carey was awarded $370,000 in Fe­bru­ary last year af­ter an an­tidis­crim­i­na­tion tri­bunal ruled he was sacked in an act of po­lit­i­cal retri­bu­tion in the fi­nal days of the for­mer Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil in March 2008.

The tri­bunal de­ter­mined for­mer coun­cil­lors Joe Sci­acca, Bill Bellero, Ge­orge Pitt and deputy mayor Dave Egan sacked Mr Carey just 11 days be­fore amal­ga­ma­tion with Cairns City Coun­cil in an act of re­venge over for­mer CEO Terry Melchert’s dis­missal the year be­fore.

Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil, which was li­able for the $370,000 pay­out, ap­plied to ap­peal the de­ci­sion last year.

Queens­land Civil Ad­min­is­tra­tions Tri­bunal pres­i­dent Jus­tice Alan Wil­son and mem­ber Michelle Howard granted leave to ap­peal, agree­ing some er­rors of law may have been made.

“It is read­ily ap­par­ent that there is a rea­son­ably ar­guable case to the con­trary of the con­clu­sions reached by the mem­ber (who made the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion),” Ms Howard said.

“The con­clu­sions reached ap­pear to be with­out prece­dent in­so­far as the ac­tiv­i­ties of a lo­cal gov­ern­ment em­ployee are con­cerned.”

The ap­peal was heard ear­lier this year and the find­ings are expected to be handed down in the next few months.

In the mean­time, the four coun­cil­lors at the cen­tre of the al­le­ga­tions have been ab­solved of any le­gal li­a­bil­i­ties in re­la­tion to the mat­ter and Mr Carey has agreed to pay their court costs.

Mr Carey told the Gazette yes­ter­day the case was far from be­ing re­solved.

“I haven’t won the case nor have I lost it and I have been told it will be about an­other two months be­fore I will know the out­come of the hear­ing,” he said.

Mr Egan said he re­ceived a let­ter from his lawyers last week say­ing that they were no longer re­quired over this mat­ter and have been dis­charged from the case.

“We are to­tally re­lieved that this mat­ter is now over and we have noth­ing more to do with it,” Mr Egan said yes­ter­day.

“I am just glad that we are cleared of any per­ceived wrong­do­ing.

“At the time this hap­pened, David was paid his full en­ti­tle­ments ow­ing to him.”

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