Tuesday 7 July 2009

Three weeks paid leave, nice for some

The Mayor has never seen the $17,000 Henry report, so we're told. I have it on good authority that she indeed has seen the report and been made fully aware of its contents.

However the fiasco the engulfed the Cairns Regional Council from late April for over two months, is about to deliver its second head on a platter.

The $130,000 pa Corporate Communications Manager, Kerie Hull, has enjoyed the last three weeks away from the office, all at our expense.

Over the weekend, I received three emails saying she was seen heading to Port Douglas with Councillor Alan Blake, her co-conspirator in the Cash for Comments scandal.

It was Kerie Hull, and Hull alone, that negotiated to pay 4CA $250 a week. She, nor the failed former CEO Noel Briggs, never informed the Mayor about the deal.

Mayor Schier has said on numerous occasions that she would never had agreed to this occurring. Both previous Mayors, Tom Pyne and Kevin Byrne, never had to pay to go on the John Mackenzie talkback show, that has had to tighten it's belts under the Advertising Authority's investigation.

The acting CEO has stated that he is not going to release the now infamous Henry report because of legal advice. However, a number of Councillors including Diane Forsyth, Robert Pyne and Julia Leu are all asking for the Executive summary to be made public.

Hull was only appointed in the role last September, having survived less than 10 months in the role that is meant to enhance and build community relations.

Following a meeting with Acting CEO Peter Tabulo yesterday, Kerie Hull will probably get her marching orders to leave her position this week.


cutting hedge said...

To the "fantastic few " that want the "Executive summary " released even that is not good enough !
It is the full report we all want released as the " Executive summary " was done by bye bye briggs and would be his version of what he wanted us to know !
Mayor shier that is not good enough ,release the henry report and we may , just may support you again !

Alison Alloway said...

I must be the only person in here with workplace "investigations" and "inquiries" experience. Generally, people lie, no matter who is conducting the investigation, if they think they will lose their jobs. They will also eagerly and without conscience point the finger of blame at one single individual. Frequently their answers appear to be rehearsed, and the suspicion is the staff have colluded before being interviewed. In hierarchical organisations, staff will attempt to curry favour with senior staff or "Executives" by telling lies. Where the work environment is toxic with entrenched bullying and the culture is competititve as people climb the greasy pole, the truth is impossible to find.
I guess this is something that people have to experience to know how truth, integrity and principles are abandoned when people are fearful for their jobs.
Frankly, I don't give the Henry Report much credibility.

Ross Parisi said...

The "Henry Report" in toto, must be released publicly not withstanding its dubious veracity, so that transparency and openness prevails. The veil of secrecy must be removed.

The trust that exist between Council and its constituents must not be compromised.

Once the respect between the people and Council is challenged the decisions made thereafter are then subject to ridicule.

Council administration could/should be a partnership between its people and its elected representatives.

As the closest form of Government, Council decisions affect the residents first hand and usually are evident via Town Planning and Administrative decisions.

There is talk in George Street Brisbane that the Town Planning powers of Local Government are to be taken away and vested in the State Local Government Department.

This talk should be taking seriously as it is consistent with the overall global strategy of the centralisation of power to central governments.

State Governments generally are loosing their clout and role as the Federal Government becomes ever more powerful.

It is therefore essential for Local Government to be held in high regard whenever/wherever possible.

Debate and conjuncture surrounding simple administrative issues like the "Cash for Comment" do not endear its people to respect the elected representatives of Local Government.

Its fate is held in its own hands.

colinwhodares said...

alison who are NOT the only one with experience in workplace investigations ,I had 14 yrs on the job experience ,with over 350 employees ! but I agree with ross parisi comments and cuttin hedge, some of them may have told the truth , but until it is releseased who knows ?

Alison Alloway said...

Good reasoning there Ross. However, could releasing the Report open up an even bigger can of worms?

Mel, Cairns said...

          I do not understand why the Briggs matter has not been followed up aggressively by the Blog and the Cairns Post.I contacted Val. about tabling the Henry report in full,together with details of Briggs payout, however I only received evasive answers,quoting confidentiality clauses and stating she had no power to have the Henry report tabled.
                 Surely this matter should be followed up with a view to obtaining the truth of the matter.If various councillors  have something to hide,bring it out into the open.Boyle with the new legislation coming into force shortly,will have the power to deal with problem councillors.
                 Lets clean out the rubbish,and start again with a clean sheet.

Sir Humphrey said...

well well well - no surprises here. Evasive manoevures and ducking for cover by all concerned. "Publish and be damned" should be the call on the Henry report we have a right to know. As for Ross's hopeful plea on behalf of councils (especially this one!) too bloody late. They are going the same way as the late Douglas Shire mob. Can't wait to see what the comrades in george street do as they continue to slide into disrepute

Jan from Kewarra said...

No, the only action we are going to see is for a scapegoat to be identified and blamed, then removed, and that I dare say is Ms Hull! That how these sort of Investigations always end up.

Watch this space.

Mel.South Side said...

Would it be possible to start a petition requesting that the Henry Report be made public in full detail,also the details of the Briggs payout.
It seems to me that a number of people are getting away with blue murder.If guilty parties are involved,they should be singled out and dismissed from council.

Thaddeus said...

Without the report being published, we don't have Ms Hull's side of the story. Surely this is of critical importance?

Anonymous said...

Is Alison Alloway suggesting that those people interviewed as part of the Henry report all lied to "curry favour" with senior executives - or just Ms Hull? If Ms Hull had any evidence that she had informed the Mayor surely that would be enough. I don't think anyone has any doubt that Ms Hull did lie or she would be on the front page of the Post proclaiming her innocence. But you can generally make good judgements about people by the company they keep. The fact that she is maintaining a relationship with Blake the Snake is a good indication of her character.

Terry said...

Even if Val is not empowered to release the report, she can still CALL for it's release. Has she absolutely no political savvy? This is truly a pissweak effort from our Lady of Machan's

Ross Parisi said...

Terry, how appropriate that you should put it in such context, so succinctly. The buck does stop with the Mayor.

This is the perfect opportunity for the Mayor to begin the journey that would regain her respect with the townsfolk.

With just one stroke of her pen, Val would stamp her authority on her Council colleagues, her detractors and her staff.

With just one stroke of her pen, Val would carry the prestige and strength to the next election of a strong, no nonsense but fair administrator

With just one stroke of her pen, Val would begin her quest to re brand herself as the head of an open and transparent administration, consistent with her mantra.

Having knowing Val professional and as a friend for more than a decade, I know she has the policies, the ticker, the character, the social conscience to join political luminaries the likes of the late Mayor Cr. Keith Goodwin and Cr. Tom Pyne, as administrators that the people could turn to and say, "Yes, they were our finest Mayors."

NotTheChaser said...

Val Schier has not done a single thing deserving of being in the same paragraph as the previous Mayors mentioned - they were class acts.
Alternately, amongst other disasters during her brief term, she has headed a Council which last month approved Capital Globe's 17 storey and 15 storey twin towers against Council's own town planning guidelines. And then spoke of how KB had got it right this time.
"At one stroke of her pen" - you are kidding!

Terry said...

Ross, If only Val had decided on an advisor with your Machiavellian skills. The young academic she has now would do well to take on board your commentary...

Alison Alloway said...

ChowChow, there are those who pretend "not to know anything". These are often the most damaging liars of all. A classic example in Queensland was the Inquiry into Bundaberg Hospital. Whether fear for their jobs (as was most certainly the case in Bundaberg) or the old standby "I just work here; I don't make the decisions", many people opt out and deny any knowledge.

Syd Walker said...

The big issue here is not open government, access to information or integrity.

Surely the big issue is how Council gets back $17K of ratepayers money for a report its leadership doesn't intend to publish.

My suggestion is to sell it on EBay for a reserve price of $17,000 - with a notice that if the price isn't exceeded, the report will be published in full on the web.

It would be interesting to see who snaps it up.

swinging voter said...

Mel has a good idea. Start a petition and see how many people in the general community,(outside this blogsite), are in favour of more openness from the Mayor and councillors via the release of the Henry report. Seems like the suggestions made from cairnsbloggers for Val to lift her game have not been taken seriously. A well supported petition should give her a reality check on the actual community perception of her administrative prowess or failure.

Mel.South Side said...

The Cairns Blog,July 9th,suggests Val has sighted the Henry report.
Val by e-mail in answer to my request,said she had not been able to sight or receive the Henry report.
The solution to this matter is to request Val to give a statutory declaration that she has not sighted or read the report in question.If Val will not provide such a declaration she should resign.

Ross Parisi said...

Mel, if your email is used as a guide, here does appear to be a disturbing amount of duplicity in this sordid matter, Val not excluded.

The launch of a petition would indeed be a positive attempt in gauging the community's willingness in illuminating the contents of the report.

Perhaps the first step would be to request Cairns Blog to conduct a Blog Poll to see what support exists in launching a petition.

Mind you the logistics in organising a successful petition would be very onerous and time consuming.

What are your thoughts on this procedure?

The thoughts of others bloggers would also be welcomed.

Mel South Side said...

Possibly the simplest way of conducting a petition on this matter,would be to request the Cairns Post Editor to consider running the petition through his paper.
The paper would be required to run the petition notice for a few days.Petitioners would be required to sign and lodge the petition at the office of Cairns Post by hand or mail.
Results of the petition would be handed to the Cairns Regional Council for immediate action.The Cairns Post would be doing the community a great service by taking this on.

Ross Parisi said...

Mel, thank you for your thoughts on how a petition could be launched.

I am not so sure whether the Cairns Post would be directly involved in advocating a petition through its paper.

Of course we would not know of its views until/unless the management is requested to participate.

I do understand that Cairns Blog is considering placing a poll on this blog site as a means of finding out if there is community support.

Of more disturbing news however, is the article in the Cairns Post 11.07.2009. If the article is taken on face value the acting CEO has got no intention of ever releasing the 'Henry Report'.

I am unsure of the legality of such action. Therefore, I am not certain whether the Councillors could force the hand of the acting CEO to release the report.

What is disturbing though is that the majority of Councillors are prepared to be treated with such contempt.

You would think their blood would be boiling to have paid $17,000 for the report and then told they can not peruse it!

That is a preposterous position to sustain without compromising their Oath of Office.

Hiding behind the veil of the lame excuse that it is an 'Operation Matter' is an abrogation of responsibility.

Terry said...

Councillors call for the release of the the Henry Report. In the Cairns Post, Saturday...Except Val was not one of them.

Mel. South Side said...

Terry,have not seen Saturdays Cairns Post,however if as you say,councillors have asked for the Henry Report to be released,
subject to the request consisting of the majority of councillors,
surely the CEO Must release this document,after all he is an employee of the council.
Councillors must force this issue and at the same time request full details of the Briggs payout.

Ross Parisi said...

Most things are subject to change. However, meeting procedure in a Westminster style democracy is fundamentally constant.

If only takes 2 Councillors, to move/second a motion. In the first instance the motion would be to suspend standing orders to debate a motion that is not in the meeting agenda.

If meeting procedure is to be followed the Chairperson of the meeting, who in this case is the Mayor, accepts the motion and puts the motion to the meeting.

Protocol usually allows such a motion to prevail.

2 Councillors then move and second the motion to call on the acting CEO to release the 'Henry Report'.

Debate would ensue and then the motion/with or without amendments would be put to the vote.

If by chance the motion to release the 'Henry Report' was not accepted by the Chairperson the meeting could override the Chairperson and direct that the Chairperson to allow the motion to stand and for debate to follow and finally to put the motion.

Of course this procedure would expose the Councillors of their real intentions instead of platitudes to 'The Cairns Post'

Whether the Councillors want to be so exposed is of conjuncture.

Terry said...

There are councillors who want to be "seen" calling for the report's release - there is political milage in it for them.
However, they also realise that it can't be done under the terms of it's brief. This suits them fine as they may also have something to hide.

nocturnal congress said...

Well said Terry. I wonder if they are the same Councillors who plotted the "Comment for Cash" now trying to gain public approval by calling for "accountability and transparency" in releasing the Report, knowing full well, as you said, that it cannot be done.
Sadly, as I commented before, this tactic is very successful with the public.

Thaddeus said...

More classic Machiavellian tactics - cunning, self-serving duplicity!!!

colinwhodares said...

Forget your petions mel good idea but they rarely work , what I did was email val on her website and ask to be unsubscibed , when asked why I told val that as a direct result of not releasing the "henry" / ratepayers funded report ,I and others that helped her get elected will NOT support her in anyway until we know who did what .

Megan Fox said...

I think the fact that Alan and Kerie have been spotted around town so much just goes to show their disregard for the seriousness of the situation they have engineered.

If they are genuine and in a "relationship" say so because all the lies and counter claims just make them look more and more foolish.

My kids go to her kids school and the name Blakey and "Fat Guts" {Blakeys cat} the cat come home on my child's lips.

It is common knowledge Alan and Kerie are an item around town.
Why does this matter?
Because lies beget lies.
Lairs always get found out.
I recon Fat guts is needs to go on a diet.
Too much fat and not enough guts!