A former senior manager at the Kangaroo Island Council is taking legal action against the council for breach of contract.
Bernadette Brennan, the council’s former People, Learning and Governance General Manager and Deputy Chief Executive Officer was made redundant on March 28.
Ms Brennan, who had worked for the council for more than three years in a permanent position, had been due to resume work on April 2, after sick leave for surgery.
The council has since advertised two positions, for a manager of human resources and risk, and a contract co-ordinator for occupational health and safety, with a combined minimum wage of $149,000.
Ms Brennan said this week that her job had effectively been split into two positions and the combined cost would be “more by a long shot” than what she had been paid.
She said the redundancy had caused great distress to her and her husband who works on Kangaroo Island. They had bought a house in Kingscote but Ms Brennan was now in Adelaide seeking work. “It has effectively forced my husband and I to live apart,” Ms Brennan said.
The council’s chief executive officer Andrew Boardman said this week that in workload planning sessions it had become apparent that the human resources and health and safety work that needed to be done within the organisation could not be handled by one person.
There was also a need to create development opportunities and minimise additional long-term costs to the organisation.
“Bernadette was made Deputy CEO in April last year. I don’t believe an organisation of this size needs a permanent deputy CEO. If I am not available, I will appoint a senior manager as acting CEO.”
He said the council wanted to “work within the head count” that it had. The changes would cost the council more, but only initially. “Sometimes we have to make decisions that are not necessarily popular, involving people. There was an extensive consultation process with Bernadette that unfortunately didn’t come up with solutions.” Mr Boardman said the council had legal advice throughout the process that it had followed best practice and an offer to Ms Brennan had been refused.