Wednesday 10 June 2009

Cairns Council CEO resigns, leaves immediately

The CEO of Cairns Regional Council, Noel Briggs resigned this afternoon.

Mayor Val Schier said Noel Briggs would leave Council effective immediately.

“Noel has played a role in transitioning the two former councils of Douglas and Cairns into Cairns Regional Council and I wish him well with his future endeavours,” she said.

Cr Schier said council would soon advertise to fill the permanent CEO position.

“I will be managing that process with the assistance of the Deputy Mayor and with support from senior staff,” Schier said.

Council's Director of Planning, Peter Tabulo, will be appointed to the Acting Chief Executive Officer.

In an email to all staff this afternoon at 3:30pm, Mayor Val Schier announced the Chief Executive Officer's resignation.

"Many of you will have worked with Noel over a number of years in this and previous Councils and will appreciate the hard work and dedication he has put into local government in this region," Schier said.

"For all staff it is be business as usual and I look forward to working with you to continue the great work of this organisation."

When questioned this afternoon, Val Schier said it was "Mr Briggs' decision and Mr Briggs' alone."

Briggs' shock resignation comes hot on the heels of the Cash for Comments investigation. The CEO admitted he was one of those questioned by Jim Henry QC, following which the CEO and Mayor were both widely criticised for not making the report public, allowing for speculation about it's findings.

The Mayor stopped short in her message to staff, to personally thank the CEO for his contribution.



Noj Nedlaw said...

Yes, Yes, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nicky J said...

Wow! Maybe you should apply Mike?

Jan from Kewarra said...

The Question is why? Is that going to be a secret too, behind closed doors, not for discussion issue too!

As for Peter Tablet (hard to swallow even with a glass of water) acting CEO, we have gone from the pan to the fire!!

We need a fresh candidate from outside who will bring honesty, transparency and a different approach to running this large Council.

Let us hope that we get it....

Noj Nedlaw said...

As the former occupier of the position of "CEO" made the decision to withhold the Henry report, perhaps public clamour may cause the new holder of the legal position of "CEO" (Tabulo)to reconsider the decision.

It was the position that made the decision; not the person of Briggs.

Ray Taylor, Little Mulgrave said...

Well done Mike on some good investigative journalism.

colinwhodares said...

Ww mike wowwwwww , three to go now and we may have a functioning council !

Tom Asquith said...

A good outcome for CRC (providing Peter Tabulo does not become CEO). Well done Mike/CairnsBlog. The reason you exist is because this is the sort of invesigative journalism we should be getting from The Cains Post, but don't!

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

quick, where's quickie with our quick fix of quickcrap?

Domino theory said...

I can just hear it. A ukelele chorus of "now is the hour for us to say goodbye".....

I think Val was on to something.

Bryan Law said...

At last! It was never tenable for Mr Briggs to remain as CEO after Val's election. In my opinion he defied her wishes, split the Council, and then started behaving as if he and not Val were in charge. It's no surprise that rancour and division grew steadily worse.

I hope that Val is now able to find a CEO who will manage the CRC according to policy, and while according due respect to Val as Mayor. Peter Tabulo is not the person to do this.

Val also has to manage a diverse bunch of Councillors - and we ratepayers need to keep reminding that bunch we want results and a clear direction. Let's hope we get one before 2012.

Congratulations Mike/Cairns Blog. Good effort.

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

Saw you took credit for the ousting on the Cairns Post website, Michael.

Little arrogant, dont'cha think?

Michael P Moore said...

Very funny Clifton Ratbag. The Cairns Post advised me it was from your IP address and that you wrote it. You can't even spell the name of my suburb correctly.

Cairns Post story and Reader Comments

Melinda at the Post's online department, removed it within five minutes. You've done this trick before. Grow up and stop committing fraud.

Dutchie said...

A bit of arrogance can be healthy sometimes.

Too much arrogance can wreck a Council.

Was this a plea bargain? Like, "I will resign, if you don't publish the report, so I can leave with some dignity" (albeit not much). Or the other way round, "if you piss off, I/we will shut up and move on".

That's my guess. Not that I care one way or another. The guy's gone, that's the main thing.

Syd Walker said...

Personally, I wouldn't advertise the job as before. I'd Think Lateral and not advertise at all.

Val should shop around for the best available bang for a quarter million bucks p.a.

Cuba would probably offer the best deal.

I bet the new Castro Government could send FNQ a whole team of experts to oversee a complete policy overhaul and the rapid implementation of:

(1) a first class affordable comprehensive health system

(2) a state of the art disaster minimization capability

(3) a real program to bring organic farming to the region

(4) a civil defense program to fend off yahoos from Guam

(5) a reinvigorated FNQ basketball culture

(6) sexy dancing on the Esplanade

(7) innovative tropical design

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Bring back the Stocks. said...

The stocks are oiled and ready to go.
I wonder what rock the snake is hiding under or maybe peticoats are more to his liking?
Bring back the stocks. As a tourist attraction more fun than a Uke.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Erm folks - Tabulo is the Acting CEO - to hold the thing in place until advertisements & interviews are held for the new CEO. So, don't get your knickers in a knot.

I'm with Bryan above, & I think Syd Walker's idea of a Cuban CEO sounds fab! Much sexy dancing on the Esplanade, with ukeleles, of course, sounds very good.

I still want to see the results of the $17,000 report though. I think the community deserves this, & to see what lies behind the scenes. I don't think the resignation of Briggs will silence the community on that one. It still has never come out why Sno Bonneau was the one to question the 'cash for comments' issue in general Council Meeting two months ago. Why did Sno Know?

Congrats to Val - I think this was a case of "Speak softly and carry a big stick" (General Lee Grant, American Civil War).

Gee, it's turning out a great year - Barack O in Amerika, Mark Alexander & Gavin King gone, Kerrie Hull almost gone ... and lovely winter weather.

And congrats to Mike Moore for all his hard work on the Briggs issue.

And, like Arthur Festerbester - I too am awaiting some QuckieCrap. Wonder what spin he'll have on this one. Or, maybe CBD Warrior could log in?

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

PS. And I'm with colinwhodares - three more to go & we might have a functioning Council.

Bene Gesserit said...

The ongoing issues with the elected Council exhibit the classic symptoms of what happens with a weak leader in charge or leader in a weakened position. Unfortunately for us rate payers these symptoms have flowed into the operational side and this is going to be very costly for us.

When a leader elected or appointed is toppled from their position there is a feeling in the general community of renewal or cleansing. Unfortunately the truly evil ones keep themselves buried down low enough to avoid public detection and exposure. These evil ones are never dealt with by changes in leadership and outlive numerous terms and tenures. This happened with Byrne’s passing and it will happen with the Briggs departure.

The biggest lesson from this is perception is reality in public life, regardless if you did something wrong or not and regardless if you’re elected or appointed.

PS. I hope nobody actually thinks Val Schier will be choosing the next CEO. (See my first sentence)

PSS. My verification text was "oustu" how timely.

Observer said...

A good article - but there was no "investigative journalism" here. This was from the general press release that was sent out.

Council Watcher said...

Where have you been for the last six weeks,Observer, on another planet?

We've had far more information about this incident on the Cairns blog than in the Compost. Great work Mike.

Ross Parisi said...

Michael, I have much pleasure in joining other contributors in acknowledging your hard work in this sordid scandal.

Your perseverance, professionalism and tenacity has borne the community fruit. You pursue issues where angel fear to tread.

I do not wish to be unduly critical of other media but suffice to say that traditional media outlets baulk at issues that require probing and investigation.

This is where you fill the void created by 'lazy' journalism. They parrot off press releases emailed via the PR Department of various Government institutions including the CRC without demur.

Michael, the job is not yet complete as there are more resignations to be prised out. Furthermore, the 'Henry Report' must be publicly released.

By all means bask in the glory of success but you are needed at the wheel again pronto.

Regrettably this scandal is our 'Watergate' and unlike the American version 'Deep Throat' still lives in our neighbourhood.

Enough Rope said...

The coup d'état is almost complete, he sat he waited and waited. Believing himself to be the heir apparent; brought about by some devious plotting, he watched as his predecessor drew his final breath after falling on his own sword. Appointed his dream position, he sits back, taking stock, his ultimate scheme unfolded.
A word to the wise Me Tabulo: don’t get too comfortable! Your lifetime of scheming will shortly be your undoing!
Mayor Val; your new confidante is Pontius Pilate.

M of Cairns said...

Have just heard the news that Briggs has resigned as Council C.E.O.

I strongly suggest that your excellent article on the Blog yesterday would have been the straw that broke the camel's back,in this case Brigg's back.

Congratulations Michael,I would really like to see you start another campaign, firstly to have Blake removed from Council, secondly, to convince Val to stand down as Mayor, and take a position as councillor, allowing Robert Pyne to take over the position as Mayor.

I suggest these moves would bring some stability to Council and allow the Council to move forward.

Once again Michael, congratulations, you have done a great service to the community.

portmultimedia said...
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Jono F, Holloways said...

Another day, another $17,000. Wonder what deal Briggs' lawyers will get for him as a parting gift from us ratepayers......?? Remember, if he's on around $250K+ he'll prob get a third of this.

Any business chiefs out there know how this works?

Paul Taylor, Maryborough said...

AMazing day in Cairns politics... Blake and Bonneau are now on a island with sharks swarming..... no longer do they have their fat cat mate on the 3rd floor to protect them....

Blake, you are next mate. We're ALL watching you and we'll not let up exposing the rest of your dirty stuff.

Jonothan Willis, Daintree said...

What's all the fuss? we all knew that Briggs was there for his own pleasure. hardly surprised.

he can now head back to the Tavblelands and hid away with a bag full of our dosh. Cash for no comments indeed

He was useless as tits on a bull

colinwhodares said...

The question must now be asked , as reported on the local news as to why council is working out a sum of money to a bloke who resigns ?

If you resign you only get your current entitlements ,not a golen handshake !
This must be a true indication briggs was sacked! As a employee who resigns gets just the bare annual leave payements etc.

Hello he is supposed to have left voluntarily !
Or was vals and mikes boot squarley in his arse !

Jan from Kewarra said...

Generally, when people leave a position of their own accord, they give a week's notice, two weeks etc.

In this instance, his left immediately, which is highly suspicious of a sacking. So someone on high had something on him or put the pressure on him to leave immediately!!

The problem for us and Val is that she now has Peter Tabulo in the hot seat.

That man has single handedly as City Assessment Manager overseen all the ugly and inappropriate developments that we as residents are currently grappling with such as Glencorp's Clifton Views. He is also responsible for allowing developers to interfere in every waterway on the Northern Beaches, particularly in the last 5 years, by giving developers dispensations on the Cairns Plan guideline, ie with Clifton Views, they were given a 10m setback from the creek, but they actually built 5m from the high bank mark. There has been no will whatsoever shown by Council to amend this situation, even early on when this situation was pointed out to them about this obvious breach of condtions. Breach of condtions is just about in evidence on every development site, but nothing is done and developers continually get away with it.

Now when there is moderate rain and there are severe and unprecedent flooding of downstream resident's homes and properties, Mr Tabulo, takes no accountability for this mess.

This man is evil in terms of his power and connections with developers and their highly paid consultants such as the Conics group. I would also suggest the poor culture exhibited by Council planners has/is also sanctioned by this man and so the whole ugly scenario goes around and around.

As Enough Rope says, Val needs to be very careful, who is finally selected for the top job.

We can have more of the same with Tabulo or we can start afresh, with someone from outside Cairns, and with good experience running a Council who will be able to instill a new culture into the workplace from the ground up.

The Q is, is she strong enough to to take up this challenge and start again with a new CEO.

She will not be getting my vote unless she does.......

Richie said...


You have have singlehandedly destroyed the used car market for gold BMW's and red MX-5's, but what a piece of investigative journalism...Marvellous effort you tenacious blogger!

James Phillips, Port D said...

Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic!

tune in at 8:30am on ABC Far Nth.... Val will skip around all the questions put to her no doubt.

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CBD Warrior said...

A blog read by a couple hundred malcontents had ZERO to do with Briggs' departure. When all the facts are revealed, you'll all be yammering for Prince Val's head next. This fiasco is going to cost ratepayers at least $1M at a time when we can least afford it. Add in the $1M for a ukulele festival, and it's clear you've all elected an untenable mayoress.

Thornton On Spence said...

Well done Mike. Tenacious and great journalism. This again demonstrates the value of the Cairns Blog and you as our representative. I would suspect Mr Briggs will be paid out in return for his silence as opposed to Kerrie Hull who will be selling her story to the highest bidder.
Now about that Blake Bloke....can you rattle his cage enough to get him to react? I think so. His silence is already his admission of guilt. No Lawyers Letters and no reference to being cashed up. Quite simply accepting he's next.
Has anyone seen the little red MX5 in a driveway recently?

Sammy at freshwater said...

arh, CBD Warrior... we all wondered when you'd wake up.

"a couple hundred malcontents"... I guess that makes you one of those!

personally, we think there's more on the other side of the debate.

Briggs was as dirty as a two bob watch.

Richie said...

The "Cash for Comment" report represents a vital opportunity to sort out the dysfunctional mess that is Cairns City Council.
Public confidence in the men and women who govern and manage this city cannot begin to be restored until its full release. Clearly,it is now time for Val to make this call.

Alison Alloway said...

""This is where you fill the void created by 'lazy' journalism. They parrot off press releases emailed via the PR Department of various Government institutions including the CRC without demur...."

Well said Ross. And who could ever forget the role of the media in playing the cheer squad for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and supporting the greatest lie of our time - Saddam and his WMD? If any of those so called journalists had done any research into Iraq, notably looking at the effects of ten years of economic sanctions, they would have easily discovered Saddam had nothing. The entire war coverage by the corporatised media machine right up to today has been one of simply regurgitating whatever the Pentagon or White House releases.

Oh, and the American economy is far far worse than the media machine is letting on too.

Roll on the NEW MEDIA!!

The Headless Horseman said...

Lillian of Yorkey's hits the nail on the head. To get to the bottom of the Cash-for-Comment scandal, the key is Sno Bonneau. What did he know when he asked the question that triggered publicity around the scandal?
Was Sno an unwitting dupe or a willing player? Whatever the case, Sno needs to come clean and tell us who told him to ask the question in council?
Was it Briggs? Was it Hull? Was it Blake? Or all of the above.
And let's not forget about our dear Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane who has made herself a small target since this issue backfired on her faction. She is up to her blue rinse hair in the whole thing, probably masterminding from behind the closed doors or her council office. (Did she have secret meetings with Kerie Hull too?)
Come on, Sno, what did you know? And who else was involved with you?
You should come clean before the report is released.

nocturnal congress said...

I agree Headless. How did Bonneau know? Was he someone's foot soldier sent out to spark the scandal?

Ross Parisi said...

Balance in Nature is a fundamental and as is it's want, will ultimately prevail.

In Politics balance is an ingredient for constructive, essential debate.

It is therefore critical that we hear from the 'other' side, the Machiavellians of local politics.

I call on Blake and Bonneau, to leave their collective bunker and address the masses.

Trying to make yourselves small targets does you no justice at all.

To the contrary it infuriates the very people you took 'The Oath of Office' to faithfully represent.

No amount of sand bagging will stop the relentless tide of discontent that is about to swamp you.

Notwithstanding, all will be revealed once the 'Henry Report' is exhumed.

As certain as night follows day the exhuming will come to pass and it will not be a pretty sight!

captain cairns said...

You're correct there Ross. When a leading politician says 'I have 100% confidence in....(insert name)', more often than not it is usually followed by a sacking/resignation.

And now that the CEO has gone, I would imagine Blake, Bonneau and whoever else may be guilty in the undermining of this council, may soon also resign, especially if they know the report is about to come out.

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Tony Hillier said...

Goaded by Cairnsblog, our daily organ is at last affording some serious coverage to local government affairs — although it continues to denigrate and ridicule the democratically elected mayor at every opportunity. Even today, they couldn't resist a patronising and pathetic little parody on their front page. said...

Nothing is off limits with this Chairman of Finance and he's a vigorous campaigner for reducing unnecessary spending within the council itself. "After all, how can we justify asking the ratepayer for more money if we are not willing to examine how we spend it?"

Thornton on Thornton said...

Being a councillor is also about being a real person too and this self-confessed workaholic is constantly mindful of maintaining balance in his personal life as well. "It's too easy to forget the ‘you’ in all of this and you need to leave something for yourself". A firm believer in 'a healthy mind in a healthy body', he is regularly seen around the esplanade at dawn exercising and talking with residents.

Thornton On Spence said...

What a revelation. I logged on through the Link on this page to Cr Alan Blakes C/V inspired by the observations of a previous commentor. "The self confessed workaholic" was one that amused me when you consider where his best work takes place. Do yourself a favour and read the whole pack of lies and realise what little credibility this man has. The Link is alongside under Cr Alan Blake.

Rambutan Close said...

What about this bit...

But this wider vision seems incongruent with the man who has the reputation for accessibility and independent thinking. He is never afraid to personally answering his phone when residents call and he describes his real office as being on the streets of Cairns.

Black and White Milkshake said...

Never afraid to answer his phone... his office is the streets of Cairns... What is this bloke, a prostitute?

Jude Johnston said...

Mr Briggs may have given his notice which is more than likely at least a months notice, however, it is not unusual for someone in his position to be told they can leave immediately and instead of working out their notice, be paid out. A discontented employee can wreck havoc in their notice period and this could all be part of damage control, nothing more.

Rambutan Close said...

This man is so wise...

As for his personal aspirations, Alan wants to stay focussed on today's responsibilities and not speculate too far into the future. "After all, if I take care of what I need to do today, without fear or favour, and do what I feel is right; the future will take care of itself".

Thornton On Spence said...

Let's give this some thought. An employee (Paris Hilton) embroiled in a cash for comments scandal has been having a number of after hours meetings with the CEO (George Clooney)who then stops supporting her. Along comes Mr Smooth Councillor (Danny De Vito)with all his spin and red sports car and has similar after hours meetings with the same employee obviously consoling and supporting her. That employee becomes agitated that they may well lose their job and threatens the CEO with exposing the whole affair and after hours meetings to the CEO's wife if he sacks her. Resignation is the only option. Employee still employed and still having after hours meetings with suave and sophisticated Councillor but CEO is home watching Soccer.
Obviously this has no reference to real people, places or circumstances but I thought it would make a great movie. Intrepid Reporter (Brad Pitt) of a Blog News Service exposes everything.

macca attack said...

Jude johnson please take note it is common to be paid out for "notice period instead of time served" BUT it is not common to be paid your contract period out if you quit ONLY IF YOU ARE SACKED ! I lived in the abitration commision and this is unheard of !
Say I am employed on a contract for 3 yrs ,serve 6 months and quit .they pay me full 3 yrs what A JOKE ! BIGGER SCANDAL HERE ME THINKS?

CBD Warrior said...

Led by a worthless kiwi, you're little more than a flaming bunch of mice, being led over the cliff by the Pied Piper of Yorkey's Knob. You'll all on the wrong track. Like deepthroat said, follow the money.

This scandal has zero to do with the current mayor, and everything to do with the last.

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

please please please michael, give quickie a quick call and ask him for the inside dope on what's really happening. dope from a dope - that's choice, joyce.

Jude Johnston said...

Macca Attack, I would expect the CEO having resigned, would not be wanted to serve out his notice. I would accept that he would receive his entitlements plus a month salary in lieu. I would not expect him to be "bought" out of his contract. However, none of us were privy to his contract so who knows what is in it. We still only have CBD Warrior's word that he is going to be paid a lot more.
CBD Warrior, you don't have much credibility when you use a non de plume to vent your vitriolic attacks, try using your own name, otherwise people might think you are in bed with Councillor Blake,Bonneau or Gregory.

nocturnal congress said...

Wonder if it was a quid pro quo kind of thing?

macca attack said...

jude it gets worse briggs stated he signed a confidentiality clause ,it gets murkier by the minute !

William said...

Re: the CEO vs Mayor affair, I spent a decade in Local Government and its bloody plain as day, and supported by Cr Pyne, that something is wrong with this whole picture.

Right, CEO resigns and receive a huge pay out, WRONG. CEO resigns wherein he receives accrued leave pay out, RIGHT. I never heard in my 10 years of a CEO resigning and their contract is paid out to the expiry date. In fact it was always the opposite - eg. Mayor/Council requests CEO to move on and a handshake of sorts is negotiated.

And speaking of Council as opposed to just the Mayor, what was their involvement?

Perhaps this whole situ requires closer examination beyond comments provided by the public.

Come on Minister for Local Government, what's her name again...

Oh and in closing the crap I witnessed in my 10 years in Local Government was just scam after scam. Imagine what goes on that the public are not aware of. And then step that up to what goes on in State Government politics. More scams by your seedy representative.

Terms such as transparency don't mean too much.