THE Kangaroo Island Council dismissed former chief executive officer Andrew Broadman because he breached his suspension and not because of a recently-released Ombudsman report into maladministration.
Mayor Michael Pengilly said the council felt compelled to release the details of Mr Broadman's dismissal because of information he deemed "misleading" circulating in the community.
Mr Boardman and former Mayor Peter Celements were both found to have committed maladministration and misconduct by the Ombudsman SA in a report released on July 4, which came after an investigation into almost $58,000 paid to Mr Boardman for extra hours worked.
However, Mr Pengilly said the community needed to "understand that the adverse findings made in the Ombudsman's report that Mr Boardman was guilty of maladministration, whilst being very serious are not the reason Mr Boardman was dismissed from council."
Mr Boardman was suspended by the council in January and fired in February.
"Mr Boardman was terminated in February 2019 because he improperly contacted and directed staff contrary to the express terms of his suspension, which directed that he was prohibited from contacting council staff other than the Acting CEO, Mr Pengilly said.
"Mr Boardman breached the conditions of the suspension when he (allegedly) unlawfully emailed three staff members asking them to pass on documents to the council's appointed investigator, ending with the instruction; 'Please let him have this information - suggest you say you fell over it whilst looking for something else'."
"This email was in direct breach of a clear direction given to him. Compromising staff and council in this way was serious and willful misconduct and completely unacceptable behavior.
"Based on this council had no choice but to dismiss Mr Boardman," Mr Pengilly said.
Former CEO Andrew Boardman responded to the council's release of his termination details, admitting fault for sending the email but blaming severe stress and lack of communication.
"Council wrote to me in mid-February and advised that they believed I had committed serious and willful misconduct by sending an email to council officers against the strict conditions of my suspension," Mr Boardman said.
"(Council) advised that they considered this a termination event but allowed me the opportunity to provide reasons for not pursuing this route."
He said he provided the following explanation to the council: "This behaviour is completely out of character for me and I was driven to commit this error of judgement by the intense pressure and stress of council's actions preceding and resultant, ultimately, of years of abuse and stress suffered in the workplace at the hands of others inside and outside of council...
"I received no communication from council whatsoever," he said. "This complete isolation added another dimension to the stress on my shoulders at this time."
Mr Boardman said the council had never afforded his procedural fairness in their conduct, finalisation and publication of their investigation report.
"I have never been provided that report for comment, as is my right under the provisions of natural justice, despite the report itself saying this should happen prior to it going to council, let alone being publicly released."
Meanwhile, the Kangaroo Island Council at last week's council meeting, resolved to take the following actions as a result of the Ombudsman's recent report:
- 1. The council takes further steps to require Mr Boardman to pay back any additional financial payments (additional to Mr Boardman's salary) not made in accordance with his EA.
- 2. That council direct the chief executive officer to engage Griffin Lawyers to undertaken steps to recover the TOIL payments made to Mr Andrew Boardman.
- 3. The Council review the approval process for chief executive officers' leave to include transparency and independent oversight.
- 4. The Council ensure its chief executive officers have up to date employment / executive agreements which incorporate any additional leave arrangements including appropriate monitoring of and limits on that leave.
- 5. The Council notes the separate report on this agenda relating to the establishment of the chief executive officer Performance Review Committee, where the recommendation of the Ombudsman relating to the appointment of an independent organisation to conduct performance reviews, has been addressed.