A former employee and the Napier City Council have come to an "amicable" agreement after allegations the senior manager damaged the council's reputation and made derogatory remarks.

Complaints made against former Napier City Council economic development manager Ron Massey led to a formal investigation, and what Mr Massey claims was a pre-determined and unjustified dismissal in March last year.

Following Mr Massey's departure, the council remained tight-lipped, with council chief executive Wayne Jack telling Hawke's Bay Today at the time, "we do not discuss employment matters".

However, yesterday a two-day Employment Relations Authority (ERA) hearing in Napier was abandoned following the agreement between the two parties.


Mr Massey was seeking compensation for lost income.

The complaints, last February, from the council's marketing manager Rebecca Ainsworth and Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas followed comments Mr Massey made during a Hawke's Bay Tourism meeting, including talk of the council's failed Art Deco buses venture which lost $1.5m.

A third complaint from the council's communications manager Robyn McLean was also revealed yesterday.

However, Mr Jack said Ms McLean's complaint was not part of the investigation and was also controversially not disclosed to Mr Massey or his lawyer Tony Snell.

"It is strikingly concerning that we haven't been given this," Mr Snell said.

"Natural justice demands that we get this sort of stuff - up until this morning we didn't even know that Robyn McLean had even made a formal complaint."

ERA member Trish McKinnon said it was "unsatisfactory" and could not see why the documents relating to Mrs McLean's complaint were not disclosed earlier.

She ordered a five minute adjournment for Mr Jack to "fast trot" back to the nearby council buildings and retrieve copies of the complaint. Later, during cross-examination, the chief executive could not explain why the complaint had not been included in the investigation.


However, Mr Jack, who admitted the suspension on February 10 last year was based on hearsay, rebutted claims there was a hidden agenda to push Mr Massey out the door.

He added the complaints were forthcoming and not solicited, but were of "extreme concern" and showed Mr Massey had no loyalty to the council.

Further allegations against Mr Massey included him making "derogatory remarks" about Flaxmere residents using public facilities along Marine Parade.Mr Massey was a director of Nature Green (NZ) Ltd, a charitable company set up in 2006 as a fundraiser for disabled people.

It sold ginkgo trees to growers and bought back the leaf for use in medicines popular in Asia, but went into liquidation in 2012, owing $1.2m.