Newcastle council fires Judy Jaeger and Ron Ramsey over Black Totem II sculpture investigation

EXTRAORDINARY disparities have emerged between Newcastle council general manager Ken Gouldthorp and sacked future city director Judy Jaeger over the investigation of the Brett Whiteley Black Totem II sculpture donation.

Ms Jaeger and Newcastle art gallery director Ron Ramsey were put on full-pay suspension for 15 weeks before their positions were terminated last week.

Leaked documents revealed $100,000 was donated to the Brett Whiteley Foundation by the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation.

The Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation confirmed last week it was just the first instalment of a $350,000 deal.

The council believed the payment could have significant tax implications for the city of Newcastle and suspended the pair.

Mr Gouldthorp said Ms Jaeger and Mr Ramsey were offered multiple opportunities to respond to questions and allegations during the 15 weeks.

At the end of the investigation both were provided a copy of the investigation report and were asked to show cause as to why the council should not proceed with their termination.

However, Ms Jaeger said no detailed allegations were put before her that would warrant suspension or termination of her employment.

She said the financial arrangements of the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation were not known to her because the organisation was a separate incorporated body that acted independently of the council.

Both Ms Jaeger and Mr Ramsey are weighing up their options and could possibly file a case with the Industrial Relations Commission.


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