WANGARATTA councillor Julian Fidge has returned fire at claims of bullying and intimidation made by former colleague Lisa McInerney.
Ms McInerney took to social media after the dramatic announcement chief executive Doug Sharp and four other senior staffers had agreed to a mutual departure from council.
She tweeted: “Once again, good people have suffered at the hands of a bully and his enablers” and “if only the minister had acted when she 1st (sic) knew of unsafe workplace then the wrong people wouldn’t have gone”.
Cr Fidge defied an agreement that any party to the departures would not speak publicly to defend the process which led to the decision.
“I draw your attention to the statement by the mayor in which she says that the discussions leading to the separation were auspiced by the Fair Work Commission,” Cr Fidge said.
“It is also public knowledge that deputy president Smith went to the trouble of visiting Wangaratta to further oversee discussions.
“Throughout the conferences and during my personal discussions with the deputy president I was left in no doubt the Fair Work Commission had considerable powers available to it under the Fair Work Act, and that the deputy president would, if necessary, exercise those powers.
“I say there has not been any bullying or intimidation by the new council, at all, by myself or any other councillor, or council staff.
“I think readers can be reassured if the Fair Work Commission had been presented with credible evidence of bullying or intimidation at the Rural City of Wangaratta the Commission would have taken appropriate action.
“I think it is quite obvious the process and outcome were fair, and the complaints are politically motivated.”