‘Gang of Four’ not liable
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.”