Act­ing Play­ford boss faced be­ing stood down

Sunday Mail - - NEWS -

It came six months af­ter the for­mer Grand Prix supremo made a com­ment to a ju­nior fe­male staffer, which was later dealt with in­for­mally.

An in­ter­nal ratepayer-funded in­quiry into the in­ci­dent, in­volv­ing at least three law firms and a con­sul­tancy com­pany, has cost at least $200,000. A Vic­to­rian dis­pute-res­o­lu­tion firm has been hired.

Ahead of lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, and while in care­taker mode last week, two spe­cial coun­cil meet­ings were held be­hind closed doors.

Act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Sam Green later wrote to staff ad­vis­ing of Dr Hem­mer­ling’s leave.

The leaked let­ter stated, in part, the coun­cil “does not con­done or ex­cuse” un­safe work­places. Dr Hem­mer­ling has flagged defama­tion ac­tion over the let­ter and will seek rep­u­ta­tional dam­ages of al­most $395,000. In a re­port, in­de­pen­dent law firm Fisher Jef­fries de­tailed “se­ri­ous mat­ters over the con­duct of Mr Green” and the coun­cil’s hu­man re­sources boss, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter Dr Hem­mer­ling’s lawyer, Greg Grif­fin, sent to the coun­cil on Fri­day.

“The find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions of Fisher Jef­fries are most se­ri­ous,” Mr Grif­fin wrote. He al­leges mul­ti­ple man­age­ment fail­ings, ques­tion­able mo­tives, and con­fi­den­tial­ity breaches while also as­sert­ing the pair was due to be stood down pend­ing a for­mal probe.

Mr Green, who has since been pro­moted, and the HR boss re­cently took sick leave.

Play­ford Mayor Glenn Docherty on Mon­day wrote to Dr Hem­mer­ling about “con­duct con­cerns”. He wrote: “Sep­a­rately, and more re­cently, con­cerns

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