The famous victory was for Peggy Burrows along with her wonderful supporters, including Marlene Campbell, Paul Finch, her lawyer, and many from the school and community.
I accept, however, that networkonnet kept charging into the issue, keeping it in the headlines, saying things others might have been loath to, maintaining morale, and generally needling. Intermingled with this always the intent of getting it right. There might be a fierce anger expressed in the network columns at perceived injustice, misuse of power, but I have always tried to get it right on the basis of sound argument.
In recent times there have been significant wins against extreme prejudice as the government proceeded to put down those leaders who fought national standards. What a victory for the indomitable Marlene Campbell! And then there was the behaviour of the ignorant and boorish education review officer at Opua. The education review office went this way and that to avoid responsibility, including sending in senior officers to bale up and bully senior school personnel. But there was, eventually, a complete back down (except for an apology).
In the case of the wonderful Peggy Burrows (my goodness what she has been through) the Employment Relations Authority comprehensively upheld the appeal on all three grounds. She was completely exonerated. There is much more to come but that can wait.
The decision comprehensively upheld he appeal for wrongful dismissal, awarding her one of the highest awards ever: $150,000 plus costs.
‘I believe,’ Peggy said, ‘this was always about getting me out so the ministry could control the school and its $14 million in financial assets.’
Key points from the determination were that:
- Had Peggy Burrows not been dismissed she would still have been principal
- Peggy Burrows did not contribute in any way to which to the issues on which the commissioner based her decisions to dismiss
- There were no grounds for dismissal.
Often an award will be reduced in some way because the person dismissed has contributed in some way to the dismissal, however, in this case, no reduction was made was made.
Were you in at the beginning of the this terrible matter – when reports in the Christchurch Press insinuated impropriety with finances and then charged that Peggy did not have approval to go to an international conference to deliver an address (by invitation) on her doctorate (Maori children’s learning)? That insinuation and charge was engineered by the to-be commissioner in a mischievously redacted secret report and not countered by her when, as commissioner, she knew it to be wrong.
But this morally and legally reprehensible commissioner continues in her job, poisoning the atmosphere of Rangiora High School, hanging in there, creating confusion, telling whoppers, while Peggy has lost her job – where is the justice in that?
And parents of Rangiora High School and community members – this individual is still saying she is going to raid the school finances to pay for her unlawful, lavish-expenditure, duration.
In the next posting, I will prove once again, to absolute certainty, that the school-owned finances cannot be used for school capital development, expenses, or matters of that sort. She talks about a caveat, saying she has hunted high and low, and cannot find it – she rabbited on about this right from the start, and continues to do so. How the money can be spent, you individual you, is spelt out in the legislation, not free floating as though something to be sought – and no post-modern legal interpretation by a ministry legal lackey (brought in after the initial lawyer refused to co-operate) will, in the end, controvert that.
This individual should be kept right away from school money (and children and schools).
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