Ex-council worker accuses former CEO in $1.3m lawsuit

THE lawyer for a former Cairns Regional Council employee has alleged former chief executive John Andrejic bypassed company policies in a bid to have him sacked.

Mr Andrejic, who resigned from council in October last year, was chief finance officer in 2015 when he placed former payroll supervisor Paul Andrew Ackers on a performance management plan, the Cairns Supreme Court heard.

Mr Ackers, who was stood down on medical grounds by council in July 2015, is suing them for more than $1.3m for personal injury linked to both psychological and physical injuries.

Former Cairns Regional Council CEO John Andrejic has been accused of trying to have a worker sacked in a $1.3m lawsuit against council. Picture: Stewart McLean
Former Cairns Regional Council CEO John Andrejic has been accused of trying to have a worker sacked in a $1.3m lawsuit against council. Picture: Stewart McLean

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His barrister Susan Anderson told the court he was unable to work and suffered stress and other mental health issues since being stood down after being put on the performance plan due to his mistakes in the council's payroll system.

The processing errors related to salary sacrifice, superannuation and termination pay process.

However, Mr Ackers via his barrister said a large part of the payroll system required manual data entry and manual input because it was a "heavily customised system", which contributed to the errors.

The court heard Mr Andrejic is accused of saying "If these mistakes continue to happen, there's no coming back from here", and of verbally telling Mr Ackers that he would be placed on a performance plan.

"This performance plan wasn't about improving performance, it was about putting Mr Ackers in a position where he could be terminated in circumstances where he has raised a number of issues that were highlighted in his performance plan," Ms Anderson said.

"It isn't a question of Mr Ackers having some crazy ­theory that Mr Andrejic wanted to get rid of him. It's a case of him having interactions with Mr Andrejic and (supervisor Mandy) Wise (that led to this situation)."

Mr Ackers told the court on Wednesday he was given full access to necessary computer systems for only one day during his employment.

The trial continues on Thursday.

Originally published as Ex-council worker accuses former CEO in $1.3m lawsuit


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