Wagga City Council’s former general manager Alan Eldridge has said he will sue the council, claiming he was unfairly sacked last year.
“I have commenced proceedings in the New South Wales Supreme Court seeking substantial damages from Wagga Wagga City Council relating to my wrongful dismissal in May 2017,” Mr Eldridge said in a statement.
“I have only done so after much deliberation and with the benefit of significant legal advice, but I believe strongly that at the end of the day the record needs to be corrected.
“I have and continue to maintain that my removal as general manager was done without justification and I am determined to prosecute my case with vigour and determination”.
Councillors were called to vote on Mr Eldridge’s position as council’s top administrative staff member after he spent three months on suspension.
Mr Eldridge was suspended while the Office of Local Government and the Independent Commission Against Corruption examined claims he failed to declare a pecuniary interest over his son’s involvement in a property development subject to council rezoning.
Mr Eldridge stated, when he became acting general manager, that he had resigned as a director from all of his companies except those around his accounting practice to prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest.
Wagga’s current general manager Peter Thomson said as of Tuesday morning, the council had not been served with court documents to initiate the lawsuit.
“The lawyers that council used at the time were contacted by (Mr Eldridge’s) lawyers on Friday to determine if they had instruction to accept the court process,” Mr Thompson said.
“The statement of claim has to be served; at this stage we haven’t given those instructions as I would rather that we receive it and we would proceed further from there.
“It’s only just been filed in the court so it’s at the very early stages.”
Mr Eldridge was appointed acting general manager in October, 2015 after his predecessor was forced to resign.
Six months later, he was given a permanent position with a four-year contract with total remuneration of more than $350,000 a year.
On Tuesday, Mr Eldridge said he would not comment further “as the matter is now before the court”.