Claim of bullying by staff is resolved, but union says more work is still needed.TONI BRIENT April 9, 2014 3:15am
Australian Services Union announced a victory for its Cobram members this week, reaching a resolution with Moira Shire Council over a bullying claim made by a staff and union member.
But ASU lead organiser Billy King said there was still a long way to go.
The complaint was one of many levelled recently — and, according to the union, the first to be resolved — against the embattled council.
‘‘It’s positive, but I would like to see more positive action before I could be comfortable that the wheels are turning,’’ Mr King said.
Other complaints of bullying and mistreatment against council are being investigated and assessed by the Fair Work Commission and the Victorian Local Government Inspectorate.
The Courier learned last week council would likely have fronted a Fair Work Commission panel over this claim if a resolution was not reached.
A Fair Work spokeswoman told the Courier a separate claim was expected to be heard next week.
Speaking at a union meeting with Moira staff in Cobram on Thursday, Mr King said the investigations were mostly confidential, but confirmed the case resolved this week involved senior council staff.
‘‘It relates to organisational structure changes, a lack of consultation, and alleged mistreatment of a staff member,’’ he said.
Claims of bullying and mismanagement emerged following the recent departure of a string of senior staff members including former chief executive Gary Arnold, who was sacked by councillors in October.
In a letter to Moira councillors last month, seen by the Courier, ASU assistant branch secretary Richard Duffy asked them to ‘‘instruct the acting CEO to not make any further structural changes in relation to staff’’ until the new chief executive was announced.
Mayor Peter Mansfield responded to the letter ‘‘on behalf of the councillors of Moira Shire’’, saying then acting chief executive Peter Bertolus had their ‘‘full support’’.
Last Monday, Cr Mansfield announced former Mildura Rural City Council chief executive Mark Henderson had been selected as Moira’s new chief executive.
Mr Henderson told ABC radio on Thursday bullying at the organisation ‘‘won’t be happening under my leadership’’.
Mr King said he thought Mr Henderson’s local government experience meant he could aid in putting an end to council’s problems.
‘‘I’m looking forward to meeting with the new CEO and working with him to resolve what the ASU sees as structural problems and management problems in general,’’ Mr King said.
‘‘I’m hoping he’s willing to work with us, hear us, listen to us, and involve us with any problems going forward.’’
The meeting follows a proposed reform of the sector, which Local Government Minister Tim Bull said would ‘‘set higher performance and conduct standards’’ for councillors.
The reforms were part of a bill to amend the Victorian Local Government Act 1989, introduced to Parliament last week, and included increased power for the Mayor, Local Government Inspectorate and Local Government Minister to deal with councillors found to have engaged in ‘‘serious misconduct’’.
Moira Shire Council Mayor Peter Mansfield said the reforms ‘‘wouldn’t have any impact’’ on the current situation at Moira, because ‘‘councillors are not engaging’’ in bullying or misconduct.
‘‘That is to do with the operation of the organisation, not to do with councillor conduct,’’ he said.
Cr Mansfield said he had no problem with councillors’ conduct, and had never witnessed a misbehaving councillor during his three years at Moira.
Local Government Minister Tim Bull said the reforms ‘‘predate any specific concerns relating to Moira Shire Council’’.
Steven James Bradley found guilty of murdering Michelle Buckingham
With her effective left hand in particular, Chelsea Hanley retained the Victorian Under 17 junior welterweight title last Sunday with a convincing points decision victory.
It has been a successful year for Bega Cheese, which reflects on Tatura Milk Industries, with chair Barry Irvin announcing recently that Bega Cheese’s normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $55.7 million and normalised profit after tax of $22 million.
STUNNING rare footage of brolga chicks in the wild has highlighted the importance of being able to deliver environmental water to a swamp near Dingee.
TIMMERING Holstein breeders Scott and Nirrelle Somerville are thrilled with the announcement of their Holstein cow Somerelle Leader Lassco as the 2015 Australian Cow of the Year.
Great Race helps a great cause
Hundreds flock to Avenel to learn a thing or three.
Tocumwal Lions Club has plans to purchase the Bowling Club site for an aged care facility, which will only happen if the merger between the Tocumwal bowls and golf clubs proceeds.
A NASTY run-in with a kangaroo on the Northern Hwy between Melbourne and Echuca has convinced one regular traveller on the road the question of a cull needs to be addressed.
Three Cobram teens have been arrested by police after they allegedly stole tractors from Cobram and Tocumwal and caused about $30 000 in damage.
Deniliquin footballers Will Shaw and Cooper Wallace (pictured) have gone head-to-head with the state’s best at the recent AFL NSW/ACT Joss Under-14 State Zone Trials in Albury.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has acknowledged the completion of negotiations under the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), noting modest but important gains made for the Australian dairy industry in improving access to global markets.
Benalla banded together to raise $2000 for the Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century (A21).
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.