Sacking based on more than Integrity Commission report, court hears

A report presented by the Integrity Commission did not form the basis for dismissal of former Tasmanian Health Organisation south chief executive Jane Holden, a court has heard. 

Former THO chairman Graeme Houghton gave evidence at a trail into Ms Holden’s 2014 dismissal at the Supreme Court in Hobart on Wednesday. 

Mr Houghton said while the THO governing council decided to withdraw support for Ms Holden shortly after a report detailing allegations of nepotism was released, the council’s decision was driven by years of ongoing concerns. 

“It was very clear, in my mind, we were withdrawing support for [Ms Holden] regardless of the Integrity Commission report,” Mr Houghton said. 

“The timing was affected by the Integrity Commission report, but aside from that there were other complaints.” 

Mr Houghton said in addition to relationship and communication concerns raised by the governing council, health sector staff had indicated a lack of trust in Ms Holden's management skills. 

He said Ms Holden had not been informed following each instance of complaint. 

“They were corridor conversations but there was a pattern,” Mr Houghton said.

“[Ms Holden] had a busier job than I had so people came to me [with complaints].” 

Mr Houghton said there had been concerns Ms Holden had been distracted from her role with THO South and was “keeping a close eye on things” in the state’s North West, where she previously held a health services chief executive position. 

He said he had been concerned Ms Holden lacked insight in relation to the substantial nature of her role.

Ms Holden completed her evidence on Wednesday morning and said Mr Houghton had taken an “aggressive” approach to discussing certain issues with her.

She said he had inferred she was the reason for a delay in the finalisation of her THO contract terms and conditions.

The trial is ongoing.