Secretary in the clear


Retired judge Frederick Waterman has recommended that no action be taken against the secretary who held on to a hand-written note from Principal Jeff Broomes for a number of years, which was then produced during the enquiry to question his conduct.

This came out in the chapter of the report examining the conduct of the deputy principal, who produced the note which dealt with the grades of a student who was seeking transfer from Combermere to Alexandra.

After an apparently favourable examination of the deputy’s record, the commissioner wrote: [T]he evidence which the commission heard regarding her creditable performance at the Alexandra School became somewhat scarred when she produced in evidence, what me be referred to as ‘the enhanced transcript’ of a student…”

The secretary had been given the note to type by the principal, which she kept in her possession until her retirement in August 2004, when she passed it to Deputy Principal Beverley Neblett-Lashley.

Please see pages 66 and 67 of the report on this page for the commissioner’s characterisation of the secretary and deputy principal’s dealing with the document.

The commissioner then concluded: “In the case of the secretary, if she felt that she was being called upon to perform an illegal act, she should have reported the matter to her employer, in this case, the board of management. She did not. She has now been retired for over eight years. The commission is of the view that no action should be taken against her.”

Then the commission said that “although the evidence given by the deputy principal might have had the effect of undermining the principal, no breach or offence was committed…”.

He added: “There is quite clearly no love lost between the principal and the deputy principal. She, for the most part, felt she was harassed, mentally abused, disrespected and humiliated by the principal. The commission accepts and shares her feelings in this regard…

“In conclusion the commission finds that the manner in which the deputy principal … performed her duties at the school … has not contravened any of the terms of the … [Education] Regulations.

At the same time he concluded that he could make “no finding of misconduct against the principal” on the disputed handwritten scrip.

He added that while his remit was limited in terms of the ability to restore harmonious relations at the school, it concluded that “there must be a radical re-organisation of the major players at the Alexandra School, beginning at the very top with the principal. (RRM)

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