Outgoing Transport for NSW secretary Rodd Staples was fired under state government laws that allow senior public servants to be terminated without reason or notice, documents have shown.
The documents, obtained by Labor in the NSW Legislative Council and reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, revealed Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Tim Reardon had notified Staples of his termination on November 17, with no stated reason.
Section 41 of the NSW Government Sector Employment Act states that “the employer of a public service senior executive may terminate the employment of the executive at any time, for any or no stated reason and without notice”.
In his letter accepting the termination, Staples noted that “no performance issues” had been raised during a recent performance review with Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
“I accept this termination on the basis that there will be no negative formal or informal statements made about my performance and its relationship to my termination before or after the date of my termination,” he wrote.
Transport minister Andrew Constance announced Staples’ departure the following day, November 18, stating that the agency would be moving in a “new direction” in 2021.
Staples officially wraps up in the role on February 19, and will receive a payout of $837,584, including 38 weeks’ pay, recreation leave and long service leave entitlements.
In a post on social media on Tuesday, NSW shadow minister for finance Daniel Mookhey criticised the nature of the termination.
“To fire a deeply-respected public servant like Rodd Staples for no reason is an arrogant act that risks the delivery of every transport project meant to create jobs,” he wrote.
Staples will speak at a Secretary Valedictory event run by IPAA NSW on Thursday.
He was officially appointed to the role of secretary in 2018, after former Transport head Reardon was named secretary of DPC. Staples was formerly program director of Sydney Metro Delivery Office, and has worked in the public sector for more than 15 years.