FEW people know the former principal of Methodist Ladies College, Rosa Storelli, as well as her personal assistant of 13 years, Prudence Vernall.
''She's strong, she has incredibly high standards, she's fun, we laugh a lot and she truly believes in what she does,'' Ms Vernall says.
When vice-principal Debbie Dunwoody told Ms Vernall on Tuesday morning that Ms Storelli's employment was being terminated, the PA did not hesitate.
''Rosa has done nothing wrong,'' Ms Vernall says. ''In solidarity with her I said I could not continue to work at the college. I've worked as a PA at a high level for more than 40 years and I just can't believe this has happened.''
Ms Vernall is still bruised from the fallout of the tumultuous week.
''I was in shock yesterday. I'm feeling better today. I think sometimes when there is an emergency you go into crisis mode and you are fine and then maybe the adrenalin runs out and I felt like that yesterday.
Ms Vernall believes the board's conflict with Ms Storelli is a case of ''mine is bigger than yours''. ''The board started digging and digging and the hole got so big they didn't know how to get out of it,'' she said.
Ms Vernall has been the minute secretary at MLC board meetings for 13 years. She has worked with four chairwomen of the MLC board: Melbourne University Publishing chief executive Louise Adler, former Qantas chairwoman Margaret Jackson, Tatts non-executive director Lyndsey Cattermole and Royal Children's Hospital chief executive Christine Kilpatrick. Ms Vernall said there had never previously been any tensions between Ms Storelli and the board. ''There has never ever been the slightest hiccup, issue or dispute - it's been a fabulous relationship.''