Monday 27 April 2009

Statement from Cairns Regional Council CEO Noel Briggs

This statement, has just been released from Council's CEO, following the turmoil surrounding last Thursday's revelation about a secret undisclosed financial contract between the Cairns Regional Council and radio station 4CA 846am.

The Corporate Communications Manager, Kerie Hull was told to "not attend work" and leave the office on Thursday afternoon. However she was back at the Council office this morning, after being called back in "to discuss some urgent matters with the CEO".

At the heart of the drama, is the fact that the Mayor was never informed of any arrangement, as I showed in a series of emails and declaration from those involved. Both Councillors Alan Blake and Sno Bonneau were aware at least two weeks ago that there was a financial deal in place, and wanted to expose this fact to embarrass the Mayor. However this strategy has appeared to have backfired.

Kerie Hull has engaged a local prominent lawyer and says she will defend her decision about what happened. It's expected she will say that she was instructed to 'get the mayor on air' and 'make it happen' and she may have interpreted this as paying for the arrangement. That may be well in good, however the fact that this was never disclosed to the Mayor, is a grave mis-judgement by such a senior Council employee like Ms Hull.

It will also be the undoing of the CEO, who says this arrangement was agreed with the full knowledge for paid airtime. By any judgement, this is an unethical use of ratepayer funds. It was also not disclosed on the radio show.

If this was made known to the Mayor, she would have never agreed to proceed, and asked on Thursday that any contract be revoked and any payment be stopped.

This arrangement, as the CEO tries to justify in today's statement, is all about an arrangement that was down to allow Councillors and the Mayor to talk on radio. His admission that a payment was guaranteed in return for airtime, is extremely inappropriate. Whilst few would have problem with a Council paying for legitimate advertising, this deal is nothing about advertising and it stints.

Media officer Sonja Anderson says that the CEO will not make further comment or grant interviews about this.

  • Statement from Cairns Regional Council CEO Noel Briggs

    An investigation is presently being conducted into various internal issues associated with the commercial arrangement agreed between Cairns Regional Council and 4CA.

    ▪ The CEO has reviewed the commercial arrangement made in February 2009 that allows the Mayor and other Councillors to communicate openly with the Cairns regional community.

    ▪ This is one of a number of methods utilised by CRC in an endeavour to communicate regularly and openly with the community.

    ▪ The arrangement includes a commitment between Radio 4CA and CRC to have the Mayor (and on occasions other Councillors) appear weekly on air for a one hour talkback Q & A session on issues that affect the community.

    ▪ As part of the arrangement, CRC has agreed to pay 4CA $250 for each one hour programme.

    ▪ The internal investigation is ongoing and it is inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

    Chief Executive Officer



Deep Throat said...

Briggs in charge of the "Cash for Macca" investigation, a bit like putting Nixon in charge of the Watergate inquirey...

Youngdan said...

The following statement you made is so very incorrect.

The fact is John, when a Councillor or the Mayor is talking on your radio station, they are not 'advertising', as you incessantly insist. They are publicly-elected representatives of the community. They are not running a Tupperware store, trying to flog off the latest range of burp-free self seals.

Michael, if you understood the illusion being portrayed by the Cairns Regional Council business, A BODY CORPORATE with its own ABN registration, we would be all better off.
They may not be selling Tupperware but they are operating a BUSINESS of selling Management Services over our land held under fee simple title.

If you vote for these grubs, then willingly pay the Management Service Fee, (rates) and then complain about what they do and how they operate that is your problem.

If you don’t like their Management Services they provide and how they elect to advertise these services why give them the authority to continue behind the smoke and mirrors.

The Qld Court of Appeal justices spelt this out very clearly back in 2002 in the Bone -v- Mothershaw case in which they made the following statement;
[23] This brings me to what is really Mr Bone's fundamental complaint about the whole process of vegetation protection that has been imposed on his land under chapter 22.

It is that, by the Council's action in making the order, his land has been struck with sterility in relation to the uses he can now lawfully make of it. Except with Council approval, there is practically nothing he can do with it except continue to grow vegetation and perhaps walk on it.

His refusal or failure to recognise that this state of affairs now prevails has already cost him $20,000 in penalties, to say nothing of legal costs, his own as well as those of the Council.

For this severe limitation on his rights as owner, he has received and will receive no compensation, although he continues to enjoy the privilege of paying the rates that the Council levies on his land. The action taken by the Council was no doubt undertaken in the public interest, as it claims, of the citizens of Brisbane; but it is not they who will bear the financial disadvantages of the action taken in their interest.

It is of little consolation to him to learn that, as the Council proudly proclaims in some of its material, it is the only local authority in Australia that provides this service (or some stages of it) to a land owner who is targeted completely free of charge.

KitchenSlut said...

Who is Hulls lawyer? Not Carmen Graham Lickspittles is it?

Oh dear, more of the lunatic fringe from Youngdan :-/

Michael P Moore said...

Well YoungDan, there's a thing called what's allowed by law when broadcasting.

Such an arrangement, that is not publically declared in advance, is illegal.

No one should pay their rates / taxes and then allow them to be spent any old how. What a ridiculous thing to suggest.

Advertising is one thing. MPs / Councillors talking on a radio is another. and there's clearly defined precedents about what is appropriate and protocol.

nocturnal congress said...

Yes, we may have a corporatised council with its logo, values statement, code of conduct, hierarchical management, overpaid CEO and back-stabbing sociopaths clawing their way up the greasy pole (as well as having a bit of nooky on the side), but the councillors themselves are freely elected by the people. They are not products of the corporation to be packaged and sold around like bloody bananas.

Fiona Tulip said...

I agree with Noctural Congress's comments...

We also do not want a situtation whereby a Mayor and councillor come on the radio and make derogatory and untrue statments on air about individuals or groups in the community, have Macca, agreeing and asking leading questions to incite the vitriolic comments, and then to find out a year or so later, that as ratepayers, we are paying to be abused publicly.

I think not.....

Cairns resident said...

How is it Briggs is heading this investigation,which in effect is
check about himself.

Surely Boyle should be brought into this mess and be allowed to take appropriate action.

Val should take immediate steps to
dismiss Briggs,his actions have set this council back into the dark ages.