Moira Shire Councillors have backed Peter Bertolus despite union pleas, on behalf of shire employees, to have the Acting CEO prevented from making staff structural changes.FIONA BLICK March 25, 2014 4:06pm
In dramatic developments last week the Australian Services Union (ASU) wrote to Mayor Peter Mansfield and all councillors pleading with them to prevent Acting CEO Mr Bertolus from any further restructuring of the organisation, particularly as the appointment of a new CEO was imminent.
The Yarrawonga Chronicle has received a copy of Cr Mansfield’s two sentence reply to the union’s request.
In the reply, Cr Mansfield states “on behalf of the councillors of Moira Shire, we give full support to Mr Peter Bertolus in carrying out the duties of the Chief Executive Officer until a Chief Executive Officer is appointed”.
ASU representative Bill King spoke with the Yarrawonga Chronicle saying he was “extremely disappointed” former Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell would not allow or broaden Nick Foa’s terms of reference to talk to staff and this prompted the union penning the letter to all Moira Shire councillors.
“Because of the constant restructuring staff are suffering low morale, high stress levels and job insecurity,” Mr King said.
“As a union representing the staff at Moira Shire we have tried to compromise and put solutions forward but Mr Bertolus has flatly refused to discuss or accept compromise.
“We have already lodged one complaint with the Fair Work Commission regarding Mr Bertolus’ restructuring and a further complaint will be lodged in coming days.
“Councils and council staff are there for the good of the community.
“We are looking for support from the community on this matter.”
According to Mr King, Ms Powell was fully aware of the staffing issues at Moira Shire which were highlighted in a letter to the former minister by the ASU at the start of March.
“It was made very clear in this letter that staff are concerned about bullying and harassment by not only councillors but by senior executive officers and the acting CEO,” he said.
Mr King said Ms Powell declined to take up the staffing concerns citing the Local Government Act.
“She replied to us in writing saying the Act did not provide either the Minister for Local Government or the Department with authority over council employees,” Mr King said.
“The state government is not looking at the whole picture of how staff are treated and how they are feeling.
“She also said Moira Shire Council would soon have a new CEO and it would be that person’s role to resolve the serious concerns we have raised.”
Mr Foa issued a media release after his meeting with the Mayor Peter Mansfield, councillors, Mr Bertolus and senior officers last week saying he reminded them “about their obligations and responsibility to deliver good government for the benefit of their municipality”.
“It was agreed that each councillor would take measures to address issues of conduct and governance that would restore order and instil confidence in the daily workings of council,” Mr Foa said.
“The way forward for Moira Shire is to focus on core business and for the councillors to work through the office of the CEO so that due process is followed correctly and collective decision-making can prevail.
“It is critical that each councillor remembers their obligations under the Oath of Office they took when first sworn in as an elected representative of their community and the Local Government Act.
“I also impressed upon Moira Shire councillors that it is essential they respect and trust each other, engage in collective decision-making and speak with one voice regardless of their individual opinions and views on matters before the.”
Mr Foa said he will be briefing the Minister for Local Government on the details of the meeting with Moira Shire Council.
Acting CEO Mr Bertolus issued a statement in response to questions put to him by the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
Mr Bertolus denied there was any business-wide staff restructure underway at Moira Shire Council.
“From time to time we adjust individual roles to better align with the needs of the council or to address gaps that emerge as a result of staff taking leave or moving onto different roles internally or outside council,” Mr Bertolus said.
“This occurs on a case by case basis and in accordance with legislative requirements and council’s policies.
“If a staff member has concerns they can raise these through our internal processes, with the Fair Work Commission or a range of other independent workplace agencies.”
He said these workplace agencies can then take steps if Moira Shire’s actions or processes were found to be inadequate.
“If there are matters before the Fair Work Commission we respect the privacy of all parties and will not speak to the matter,” Mr Bertolus said.
Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone has ruled out replacing Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker.
Yarrawonga’s Bre Elliott played the most “consistent golf of her life” over three days to win the Fuccillo Kia Championship at Capital Hills by carding a 2-under 69 on the final day.
Heather Donaldson was re-elected president of Tatura Hospital Ladies Auxiliary at the annual general meeting on Thursday, which was attended by 33 people.
A SERIES of classes helping people find information on their ancestors will be held across Campaspe Shire this month.
FOOTBALL star Jake Edwards presented Rochester Secondary College Year 7 and 8 students with life-long lessons he has experienced first-hand.
Community workshop to consider issues to help form Campaspe digital strategy
Heather Stamp brings a long experience of the Salvation Army to Seymour.
Berrigan Shire Council have approved a development application for six more independent living units to add to Berrigan’s Amaroo Self Care Unit block.
THEY may be a familiar sight across the Heathcote district, but some of the much-loved birds in the region are in decline.
Cobram District Health will farewell two of its dedicated board members with the resignations of president Jennie Gould and treasurer Rod McLeod.
Deniliquin and district boasted two major winners at the Australian Sheep and Wool Expo at Bendigo from July 17 to 19.
Farmers from northern Victoria and the southern Riverina gathered at Yarrawonga and Dookie last week to hear how a stubble management trial was progressing.
The News magazines are online - read the high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for 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.