‘MAXIMUM DAMAGE’: Explosive speech on health boss sacking
Mr Bennett spoke this afternoon where he said the dismissal was handled in a way "designed to cause maximum damage and to destroy his credibility and future prospects".
But Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service board chair Peta Jamieson assures the the decision to terminate was very carefully considered and not made lightly.
Last month Mr Pennington was "terminated, effective immediately" from his post as the region's health boss by Ms Jamieson.
"I am unable to comment any further on the HR process while it is still under way, for privacy and confidentiality reasons," she said.
A spokesperson for the Health Minister Steven Miles previously said the minister has received materials about this matter and has requested additional advice and information prior to an assessment being made.
"It would be inappropriate for him to comment on the matter while this process is underway," the spokesperson said.
During his speech Mr Bennett said "it is easier to find a new Board Chair than finding another high preforming CE".
"And why would any health professionals or Executives now come to Bundaberg to work if this is the new low standard," he said.
Here is his speech in full:
The people of Bundaberg and Hervey Regions are entitled to public transparency and answers on the disastrous circumstances of the Chief Executive of the WBHHS being stood down.
Our community deserves answers from Board Chair and the Minister.
1. Was Adrian Pennington the Chief Executive put on special leave or terminated as claimed on 30 sept email to 4000 Staff.
2. Why after seven years excellent service was the Australian CE of the year (2018) marched out of the hospital and treated so poorly.?
3. What reasons were given for his dismissal and did they directly relate to a mental health crisis?
4. Will the Minister call for a review of events prior to Mr Pennington's crisis event and FB post and how he was managed leading up to his dismissal?
5. Can the Minister confirm that this was not a personal vendetta and that any complaints used to terminate the CE were thoroughly investigated independently of the Board Chair.
6. Was the appointment of Lisa Desmond former CEO Fraser Coast Council anything to do with Mr Pennington's dismissal?
7. Exactly what mental health support has been provided to Mr Pennington since he was escorted from the Bundaberg hospital last week? (Sources have indicated that contrary to statements made by Board Chair last week in the media Mr Pennington has been offered no support by the WBHHS at all and his mental health is in a fragile state, and in addition the Board Chair has banned anyone in the WBHHS to contact Mr Pennington, how does this provide support?
In an organisation that should be about health and wellbeing of staff and public I cannot believe we have the Board Chair of the WBHHS talking about an employee's mental health in the media, especially during mental health week.
It is widely understood that on the days after the CE was release from hospital after a 3 hour session with clinical psychologist, the Board Chair demanded the CE attend her personal residence to apologise for a Facebook post and suggested Chief Executive consider leaving his employ.
The way this issue has been handled was designed to cause maximum damage and to destroy his credibility and future prospects.
To be stripped of phone, car, given a cab charge and then marched to the hospital entrance destroyed any dignity left in this sordid affair.
We need a full external investigations of the Chair's actions of so called sacking of the CE.
This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
WBHHS will lose staff and will not tolerate working with this Board Chair, losing two board members already is bad enough but I say to those staff, especially in Executive positions, hang in there, things will change, and know we respect you.
I know that when this high preforming HHS performance starts to slide, and it will, it will be the Ministers fault for not acting sooner, it is easier to find a new Board Chair than finding another high preforming CE. And why would any health professionals or Executives now come to Bundaberg to work if this is the new low standard.
Of all the issues of concern the main project our new hospital is now stalled, the acting CEO was the project lead on the New Hospital business case, with no one doing the job and all meetings cancelled the new hospital project is in real danger of future delays.
So I ask for those questions to be answered on behalf of my community and more importantly the health and safety of all those involved.