Thursday, 23 April 2009

Council media chief Hull stood down

Cairns Regional Council's Manager of Corporate Communications, Kerie Hull, has been stood down.

"I cannot make comments about any HR matters," a Council spokesperson said this evening.

However, my source said that Hull's role as Media Manager, who is remunerated at over $130,000, now hangs in the balance, following serious concerns of a secret commercial arrangement with Radio 4CA that was not declared.

Serious questions linger about who was behind the deal to pay 4CA, in return for the Mayor and Councillors being allowed airtime, and the involvement of Council's CEO, Noel Briggs. The CEO has clearly created an environment to allow such arrangements to prosper and perpetuate, with or without his blessing. To allow Hull to be the 'fall guy', would simply be collateral damage in Briggs' mind, I dare say. The CEO would not want his role or any knowledge of the deal done with 4CA, subjected to scrutiny.

This afternoon, Briggs marched Kerie Hull into his office and instructed her to stay away from the Council, and "not attend work."

In yet another stunning development, I can reveal that in the first week of March, Hull handed in her resignation to the CEO, which was not accepted. The CEO did not inform the Mayor of this development at the time, which is astounding. It's presumed that Hull cited her strong differences with representing the Mayor, as a reason to resign, however it was probably aimed at creating sympathy and simply gaining more support from the CEO.

It is well-known that Hull has little respect for Val Schier, often in private referring to her as "a hippie".


Mrs Bear said...

Finally some accountability amongst council staff is been asked. But while their at the should completely clean out their Media closet and prehaps the CEO's too.

CBD Warrior said...

A management employee at $130K/year would by necessity have been given authority to spend money, within some preset limit, without further authorisation and within budget.

This means that the CEO must go, if this is found to be wrong.

And while they're at it, they should dump Peter Tabulo, who keeps bringing projects to council that fail to meet community expectations and the spirit of the Cairns Plan.

This housecleaning should have been done first up by the mayor. It's overdue, as we all can see.

Megan Fox said...

Little Red Ridding Hood has been playing with wolves and unfortunately wolves, by their nature, eat little girls in red dresses. It's what they do.

I think we need to bring in the woodsmen to get rid of the wolves or dingos as soon as we can, so our Grand Val can get on with her job and we will all live happily ever after.

This fairy tale hopefully will have a happy ending and the moral of the story will be....

If you are a public servent then you serve the public and their representitives not your own narsasistic,egotistical, immoral, personal views.

Long live the free press!

Joanne and Simon, Edgehill said...

While we agree with your 'clean out' sediments CBD Warrior, the Media Spin Manager would not have authority to spend money in this way, regardless of any "preset spending limit".

But you are correct, the CEO has his dirty paws all over this one it seems.

Some great detective work Michael. Looks like more people talk to you than the Cairns Post!!

council insider said...

michael i think you may find, if you search on the other side of the fence from Val's (your preferred position) that Kerie Hull had very good reason to want to resign - it is a known fact, amongst senior council staffers, that she was bullied by the mayor. and now this, used as a scapegoat. how convenient.

Schier can only pretend to "know nothing" for so long before she is caught out.

Quickie said...

Media Managers ...

First Robyn Holmes, then Gary Schofield, now Kerrie Hull.

Plus the 3 "personal executive assistants".

Not a bad turnaround for only two positions on Council in one year.

Mayor Val sure sweeps the floor when she wants to.

I hope for all ratepayers sakes that she finds people that can work with her, (or conversely, she can work with).

Brian, Kewarra Beach said...

Oh, Quickie..we all wondered where you were.... we missed you. Everyone knows when there's a bad smell in the room.

Anyway...let's talk about your latest allegations...

Robyn Holmes left her role at Council, as soon as Byrne left. Her decision. She wasn't there under Val's tenure.

Gary Schofield decided to take early retirement, and is only doing some part-time consultancy these days. He stayed on for a few months after the March election, for the transition. Gary was complimentary to Val Schier, saying she was a "breath of fresh air", much to Byrne's disgust.

And we all know about Kerrie Hull. Look at the under-mining she's been up to. Is this the example of a good public servant?

Quickie said...

Read my last sentence again, Brian.

Senior Council Scapegoat said...

memo to Council Insider,

After you have finished cleaning the toilets at the Martyn Street Depot, can you pop up to Noel's office and empty the sharps container - I think its full again...

KitchenSlut said...

Val is a bully? A hippy bully? As opposed to what, Kevin Byrne as a sensitive new age metrosexual?

Wasn't there a gossip story somewhere, was it the Compost late last year, suggesting some interesting personal developments between a senior female council employee and a councillor? I seem to recall it was around the time of Festival Cairns when they all seemed to comprise such a convivial table in the reserved area?!

But what passes for my brain may be mistaken?

Franco said...

I once went to a bullfight on acid.
Does that make me a hippie bully?

Syd Walker said...

It's worth remembering that Lenin would have had employees shot for less. Elizabeth 1st might well have had them disemboweled. In historical perspective, Quickie, the Mayor not been too 'heavy'. Just as you'd expect from a neohippy.

Looking forward, this is a crisis to bring out the best in Cairns people.

Is there some way the public can make additional contributions to the severance packages of these unfortunate folk, who doubtless eschewed lucrative offers from the private sector because of their passionate commitment to public service? Perhaps the Gang of Six could vote a rates surcharge to give them a decent sendoff?

At times like this, the community must come together and ensure that no highly paid bureaucrat gets left behind.

Megan Fox said...

I agree with Quicky.

It's not little red riding hoods fault. She just did her wolves bidding. Played by a player.

Get Briggs out of there he has proved he is not worthy of such a position of trust and favour in the public service.

This Blog is public debate at it's most democratic.

The Gang of Sux said...

Val.... You go girl !!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Schofield's mate said...

I, too, spoke with Gary Schofield who assured me, when I quizzed him, that he had no problems with Val. He wanted to retire, do consultancy work and experience life outside full-time work. When I spoke with him, he was enjoying all his free time and finding plenty to do! And yes, Robyn Holmes left when Byrne left.

Gazza T KS, CBD said...

Wasn't there some rumour somewhere last year - about Kerie Hull becoming rather 'close' to a councillor ...... maybe someone else but i seem to remember a comment maybe even in the Compost?

I have heard the 'bully' line on Val from left factions who used to work for Val in the public service.

someone_ said...

not such a bad thing

Maybe they could start cleaning up the rest of the management

nocturnal congress said...

Yeah, Gazza, there was some mumblings somewhere about a bit of nocturnal congress amongst certain Council staffers.....a little bit of "quid pro quo" between good friends.....

Terry said...

I am getting sick and tired of the "born to rule" mob of councillors, and their sycophantic supporters. It's time they let go. Byrne is gone, Cr Blake was not elected Mayor, and people voted for Val's mob. The liberals and independent liberals need to understand that they were elected to represent their sub-divisions, and not to white-ant our elected Mayor. Give her a go, and if she doesn't work out, the voters can decide. But for God's sake - stop plotting and scheming, and run our council professionally or get out.

The Headless Horseman said...

One thing that is bothering me is the McKenzie-gate issue blew up following a question from Sno Bonneau at this week's council meeting. So I want to know how much Sno Bonneau actually knows about the Cash for Comment deal.
And if Sno knew about it, what did his comrades-in-arms Margaret Cochrane and Alan Blake know about it. We know from the Cairns Post that Cochrane and Blake are disloyal to Val and undermine her both publicly and privately.
Was Sno's question a put-up job by this gaggle of anti-Val councillors in cohoots with some senior staff to embarrass Mayor Schier who had been left in the dark about McKenzie-gate?
I smell a rat here. And it's not just Kerie Hull.
At least the community can now see that Val has had to put up with some serious dark forces in her first year.
The other aspect of McKenzie-gate that intrigues is that the previous and unlamented mayor Kevin Byrne quickly telling the media that he never paid a cent to go on McKenzie, yet McKenzie has told everyone over the air that there was a commercial arrangement with the Byrne council. Who's telling the truth?

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

I reckon the Headless Horseman sums it up nicely - if Sno knew about it, then the other members of the Gang of Six - Seven, if you count Noel Briggs - knew about it & what was going to happen.
Had Sno been at all concerned with the integrity and positive functioning of the Council, this matter would have been brought up at one of the Council Committee meetings eg. Finance (Snakey Blake's department) & dealt with there. But no, Sno had to blow it open during an open Council Meeting.
I know Val wanted to get rid of Noel Briggs last year, or at least openly advertise for a new CEO, as Briggs had been so much part of the Byrne years. However, the majority of the Councillors (now we know why) voted to retain him & no advertising for a breath of fresh air occurred. I reckon it's high time for a change - & the Mackenziegate issue pushes this to the fore.
And I do love the absolutely Monty Pythonesque notion of Byrne saying "there were no deals", then the equally sleazy Mackenzie saying "yes, there were deals".

hieronymus bosch said...

Be under no illusions who is directing debate and setting the agenda in this council. There has been a concerted effort from the beginning of Aunty Val's reign to unequivically undermine her and make her appear stupid (it's difficult to belive she hasn't been party to this as she has done such a good job of it herself as well!).

A quick recap of history reminds us that Snake 'sold out' KB when he failed to get the deputy mayor position (why did KB surround himself with 'little men' i rhetorically ask myself). While Cockrun jumped ship a decent number of months out from the election when she saw the writing on the wall. This is the calliber of character we find directing the council agenda.

Is it merely coincidence that the majority of the so-called independents all had similar looking signs prior to the election? Well, they would all meet at Snake's business BEFORE and after the election to caucus. Since he has sold his business, they don't even bother hiding the fact, as they meet at council to decide what action to take on everything.

I am no supporter of Val. She has made some shocking decisions and seems politically naive at best. Yet she is also happy to take the bullets for the G.O.S. on council decisions that she has voted against.

nocturnal congress said...

Sociopaths are often described as "snakes in suits" because of their prevalence in corporate cultures. Interesting bit of trivia, hey what?