Minister in line of fire as Pennington saga costs mount
THE drawn-out Adrian Pennington saga has fast become a "farce" with the Health Minister failing the residents of the region, a former health board chair says.
Dominic Devine yesterday slammed Health Minister Steven Mile's repeated position that it would be "inappropriate to comment" on Mr Pennington's case as unsatisfactory and failing to "pass the pub test".
The NewsMail understands Mr Pennington has been placed on special leave and is still receiving his full $400,000-plus annual salary and vehicle privileges.
A WorkCover claim is understood to have been lodged.
Mr Pennington's contract was "terminated" with "immediate effect" on September 30 - nearly three months ago by WBHHS board chair Peta Jamieson who at the time said it was a decision which "was very carefully considered and not made lightly".
However the decision is yet to be ratified by the Minister.
"If the recommendation to the minister to dismiss Adrian Pennington was justifiable, the decision would have been made by now," said Mr Devine, who was chair of the Wide Bay health service from 2012 to October 2016.
"This doesn't pass the pub test. What are they hiding?"
Mr Devine said the community and the staff at the hospital deserved answers.
"This is unprecedented that he be walked out, told he's going to be dismissed three months ago and still hasn't been," Mr Devine said.
"Why does the minister continually refuse to have the conduct of the board reviewed?"
The minister's office remains steadfast, with a spokesperson yesterday stating: "It would be inappropriate for the Minister to comment on this matter while this process is underway."
It was initially reported that there were irreconcilable differences and personality clashes between Mr Pennington and members of the board which had led to a breakdown in relationship.
In the week that followed Mr Pennington's "termination", two board members tendered their resignation, a rally was held outside the hospital in protest of the "termination", a petition was created to have him reinstated and details emerged of a temporary mental health crisis.
The crisis led to Mr Pennington penning a lengthy suicide note on social media.
Ms Jamieson said the post on its own was not a key factor in Mr Pennington's termination.
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