23 June 2009

CEO's on notice over Bullying & Harassment - Burnside CEO who quit over handling bullying claim against a councillor 'retracts' resignation

Two Bullying and Harassment stories in one day from Adelaide!

...........................BUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The fall out has just begun.

As reported on June 23, 2009 12:01am

THE chief executive officer who quit Burnside council last week over the handling of a bullying allegation has retracted his resignation, The Advertiser has been told.

Neil Jacobs tendered his resignation to Mayor Wendy Greiner earlier this month, saying he could no longer guarantee a workplace free from harassment.

A special meeting was held last week where several councillors requested Mr Jacobs remain in the position and gave him yesterday as the deadline to reconsider.

The Advertiser understands Mr Jacobs emailed councillors about 5pm yesterday asking that he be retained as the council's senior bureaucrat.

"I withdraw notice of my resignation," Mr Jacobs wrote. "The council should seek advice on the due process."

Mr Jacobs said that, if requested, he would submit a confidential statutory declaration outlining the harassment claim that sparked his resignation.

A special meeting will be held tonight to allow the council to respond to Mr Jacobs' request.

But doubts have already been raised about whether he can legally remain in the job.

A council source last night told The Advertiser they believed the CEO must seek re-appointment and be offered a fresh contract.

Mr Jacobs could not be contacted for comment last night.

Burnside Mayor Wendy Greiner did not return calls.


.... then overnight breaking story...as there is doubt !?!

Doubt over Burnside CEO's return

As reported on June 24, 2009 12:01am

BURNSIDE council has supported CEO Neil Jacobs' attempt to retain his job despite claims from its own members the move breaches of state law.

Mr Jacobs handed his resignation to Mayor Wendy Greiner earlier this month after a dispute over the handling of a bullying claim levelled against a councillor.

At a hastily-convened special meeting last night, a divided council voted to accept a request from Mr Jacobs to retract the resignation.

But Councillor Rob Gilbert says independent legal advice sought by him shows the move is illegal and the CEO must re-apply for his own job and face opposition from rival candidates.

Speaking to AdelaideNow last night, Ms Greiner confirmed the majority of councillors wanted Mr Jacobs to remain in the job.

She also said she was confident the move was legal.

`'Most definitely yes, the CEO's contract of employment continues uninterrupted without any effect on his continuity of employment," she said.

"The council accepted the CEO's withdrawal of notice of resignation and affirmed its continuing confidence in the CEO."

But Mr Gilbert says his own advice, from Grope Hamilton Lawyers, cast doubts.

In a copy supplied to AdelaideNow, lawyer John Danvers says Mr Jacobs officially resigned on June 12 when he handed his letter to the mayor.

"Now that Mr Jacobs has resigned ... it is not open to Mr Jacobs to withdraw his resignation, whether at the request of council or otherwise," Mr Danvers writes.

It is understood an argument between Mr Jacobs and Ms Greiner argued over the handling of a harassment allegation sparked his resignation.

In his resignation letter, Mr Jacobs said he found it "impossible to condone actions which potentially compromise my responsibility to provide a safe workplace free from harassment and bullying".

In an email to councillors on June 15, Mr Jacobs said he would only remain in the position until August and urged all staff to "promote a safe workplace free from harassment and bullying".

"I wish to pursue other more enjoyable, uplifting, exciting, challenging, and fulfilling opportunities, and have resigned," he wrote.

Democrats MLC David Winderlich has raised the council's disfunction in Parliament and asked State/Local Government Relation Minister Gail Gago to investigate a string of complaints.


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