Coun­cil boss in le­gal stoush af­ter be­ing stood down

The Advertiser - - NEWS -

FROM PAGE 1

Dr Hem­mer­ling fore­shad­owed defama­tion ac­tion in a let­ter sent to Play­ford Mayor Glenn Docherty in which he out­lined a series of al­leged coun­cil fail­ings in man­ag­ing the com­plaint against him.

The let­ter, a copy of which has been ob­tained by The Ad­ver­tiser, states that the na­ture of the com­plaint against Dr Hem­mer­ling, pic­tured, in­volved “al­legedly in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments” made to the com­plainant but that it was re­solved through an “in­for­mal re­quest of the com­plainant”.

KelledyJones law firm then con­ducted a pre­lim­i­nary re­view of work­place safety at the coun­cil which led to a rec­om­men­da­tion at a con­fi­den­tial coun­cil meet­ing on Mon­day, that Dr Hem­mer­ling be stood down pend­ing a more de­tailed in­de­pen­dent re­view.

In the let­ter, lawyer Greg Grif­fin said his client was not pro­vided with a copy of ad­vice that coun­cil re­lied upon to stand him down “ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately” the next day.

“Mr Hem­mer­ling has not been af­forded an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond in any way to what we un­der­stand are se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions of mis­con­duct and mis­man­age­ment made against him in the KelledyJones Lawyers Re­port,” Mr Grif­fin wrote in the five-page let­ter.

“Coun­cil has acted in an ex­tra­or­di­nary and un­law­ful man­ner in the way in which it has con­ducted this process.

“We un­der­stand that a raft of se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions are made against Mr Hem­mer­ling in the KelledyJones Re­port which were re­peated in the cham­ber.

“We are in­structed to pur­sue ac­tion un­der the Defama­tion Act against those re­spon­si­ble for the pub­li­ca­tion of un­true and defam­a­tory state­ments made about Mr Hem­mer­ling as to his con­duct as the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer … and his abil­ity to man­age staff cul­ture.”

Mr Grif­fin said that Dr Hem­mer­ling was “se­verely prej­u­diced” in pur­su­ing the le­gal ac­tion due to what he claims is a fail­ure of the coun­cil to ad­vise him of the “pre­cise na­ture” of the al­le­ga­tions against him.

Dr Hem­mer­ling told The Ad­ver­tiser that he stren­u­ously de­nied any wrong­do­ing but de­clined to com­ment di­rectly on the mat­ter.

Mr Grif­fin said the coun­cil had ig­nored an ear­lier con­sul­tant’s re­port, which was the sub­ject of an ex­ter­nal re­view by Fisher Jef­fries law firm, which was “en­tirely sup­port­ive” of Dr Hem­mer­ling’s po­si­tion. “I can con­firm that we in­tend to launch Supreme Court pro­ceed­ings for defama­tion,” Mr Grif­fin said.

The Ad­ver­tiser had sought com­ment from the coun­cil and Mr Docherty.

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