HCC boss sacks union man over bullying row

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 10:36 15/01/2014

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Hamilton City Council has sacked a union man who brought allegations of widespread bullying within the council to light.

Public Service Association delegate Allan Halse was dismissed by council chief executive Barry Harris this morning.

Mr Halse, who worked at council for five years, was suspended on full pay in October as an investigation was launched into serious misconduct.

He was accused of publishing derogatory statements about the council on the internet, providing information to the media when he was not authorised to, breaching council protocols for protected disclosures, and breaking rules for city staff during an election period.

The investigation included private emails between councillor Dave Macpherson and a Waikato Times reporter.

Mr Halse has previously declined comment, on legal advice, and was not answering his phone this morning.

But Mr Macpherson has defended him and says the dismissal was pre-mediated and unjustified and designed to further cover up many of council's staffing problems.

Mr Macpherson said staff were fearful of speaking out about concerns as a result of Mr Halse's suspension and the climate of fear would  inevitably increase.

He has offered to support Mr Halse in a personal grievance case against Mr Harris should he wish to take one.

The council has confirmed that Mr Halse had been dismissed but has yet to offer any further comment.

Mr Harris would not be interviewed but said in a statement: "I have undertaken a full and fair investigation into concerns over Mr Halse's behaviour.

"I have concluded that he made serious breaches of council policies and his obligations as an employee of Hamilton City Council. I believe that dismissal was the appropriate outcome.  

"I am not at liberty to discuss the details of the investigations, which is covered by privacy and confidential considerations."

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