Feb 10 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
THREE men who were sacked from their top jobs will take South Ayrshire Council to court.
The waste management bosses, who were axed last year, are challenging their dismissals.
And they’ll now face off against the council at an employment tribunal later in the year.
Ken Harkin, Eric Monson and Peter Purvis all lost their jobs in the waste management department after a controversial investigation.
The trio were shown the door following a detailed probe into a string of allegations including financial mismanagement, bullying and harassment.
They had been asked to explain why they allowed excessive overtime payments for a handful of employees, including regular 60 hour a week pay packets for two foremen.
They were also quizzed as to why they sanctioned overriding of high tech electronic clocking in technology to authorise overtime payments at the depot in Walker Road.
They each denied any wrong doing, but lost their internal appeals with the council.
But they are determined to pursue their cases and clear their names.
Last year’s lengthy investigation, which cost the council almost £100,000 in wages and investigator fees, left the waste management setup in disarray.
During the probe, the Post told how the lead investigator was being paid a whopping £460 a day.
And the council was also shelling out £2000 a week for a waste management professional to review their setup.
The investigation led to the sacking of five staff in total, although two went on to win back their jobs on appeal.
Now the remaining former employees are set to go to battle in a bid to win their cases.
A council spokesperson revealed: “We can confirm that three former waste management employees dismissed in June 2011 for breaches of policies and procedures have lodged claims with the Employment Tribunal.
“As this is an ongoing matter for the council, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
The revelation comes at the same time as the council tries to wind up its disciplinary procedure for another high profile employee.
Property chief Bill Gray, who has been suspended for almost 13 months, is still awaiting the outcome of an investigation into his department.
And one councillor admitted: “It’s certainly not ideal that we’re continuing to make headlines over things like this.
“All large organisations go through periods like this, but we can only hope we don’t end up losing even more money out of it.”