Sacked councillors ordered to pay costs of dismissed case
THE group of sacked Ipswich councillors who sued the council for unfair dismissal have been ordered to pay the council’s costs.
The case brought by former councillors Wayne Wendt, Cheryl Bromage, David Pahlke, David Morrison, Charlie Pisasale and current councillors Paul Tully and Sheila Ireland was dismissed by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in January.
They were all sacked after special State Government legislation was passed in August 2018.
The unfair dismissal case centred on whether the councillors were considered employees.
Industrial Commissioner Minna Knight was satisfied an employment relationship between the councillors and the council did not exist at the time the council was dismissed.
Mr Tully and Mrs Ireland have since returned to office in Ipswich after being voted in at the March local government election.
Commissioner Knight ordered the councillors pay the council’s costs of the applications of reinstatement, assessed on the standard basis according to the Supreme Court scale.
They will also have to pay the costs of these latest proceedings.
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If the parties do not agree upon the costs within 14 days of the decision, made on September 11, the council needs to file in the industrial registry and serve on the councillors its schedule of costs within 28 days.
The councillors are then to file in the industrial registry and serve on the council any objections to the schedule of costs within 28 days of being served.
The Industrial Registrar will assess the costs upon receipt of the schedule of costs and any objections.
Councillors will have to cough up within 28 days of agreement or assessment.
The council’s costs of the substantive proceedings up to the date the decision was released are about $55,700 and the costs of this instant application are estimated to be $7975.
Counsel for the council argued the applications were made “without reasonable cause” and it should have been apparent to the councillors that their applications for reinstatement had no “reasonable prospects” of success.
An Ipswich City Council spokesman said costs have not yet been assessed or agreed upon.
“Solicitors for council’s insurers will calculate an assessment of costs based on the Supreme Court scale for the work performed,” he said.
“Council’s insurer through its solicitors will be establishing if there is an agreement to the costs calculated under the scale.
“If it is not possible to reach agreement with the other parties, council will file its schedule of costs, and seek an assessment from the Industrial Registry.”
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